Narendra Modi was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India

image caption, Mr. Modi has been sworn in for the third consecutive term as the Prime Minister of India

Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Narendra Modi has been sworn in as India’s Prime Minister for a third term.

The ceremony was held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India.

Mr Modi’s BJP-led National Democratic Alliance won the general election with 293 seats, a smaller margin than opinion polls had predicted.

Thousands of guests attended his swearing-in ceremony at the President’s House in Delhi. Among them are the leaders of neighboring Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives – but not Pakistan or China.

Heavy security has been put in place in Delhi, which has been declared a no-fly zone, with more than 2,500 policemen stationed around the stadium.

Mr Modi said he would uphold India’s sovereignty and integrity and rule with “true faith and loyalty to the Constitution”.

He said: “I will give rights to all categories of people as per the Constitution and law without fear or favour.

At the ceremony, President Draupadi Murmu also administered the oath of office to the new cabinet of Mr Modi.

The 73-year-old is only the second Indian leader to win a third consecutive term after the country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Exit polls had predicted an outright victory for his BJP party, which had ruled India for a decade, but it lost its parliamentary majority in the election.

On Friday, the elected MPs voted for Mr Modi as Speaker of the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament), BJP as Parliamentary Party leader and NDA leader.

image caption, Thousands gathered outside the President’s House in Delhi on the occasion of the swearing-in ceremony

It is not clear what concessions his allies may have received in exchange for their support. Indian media reports that many are eyeing key ministerial posts.

The Congress-led opposition All India has termed the election as a mandate against Modi’s government.

Mr Modi, however, countered this on Friday: “The opposition tried to portray the 2024 Lok Sabha results as a loss for us. But we have not lost, we have never lost and we will never lose.”

image caption, Guests at the Presidential Palace were seen fanning themselves

Thanking voters for their mandate, Modi said he would “do everything” to eradicate corruption and poverty.

Empowering the poor and middle class is our priority, he said.

During his election campaign, Mr Modi and his party were accused by critics of using hate speech, attacking the country’s Muslim minority and jailing opposition figures.

On Friday, the Prime Minister-elect said the NDA alliance was committed to the principle of “Sarva Bandh Sambhava” (religious equality).

The Federation of India has said that it will fulfill its duty in Parliament by keeping the government in check and protecting the Constitution.

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