New Delhi: Sushma Swaraj, who did not contest in the recently held Lok Sabha elections, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving her respect and opportunity to work for the countrymen and NRIs in the last five years.
“Prime Minister – As External Affairs Minister, you have given me an opportunity to serve the countrymen and NRIs for five years and also personally given respect to me throughout the tenure. I am very grateful to you. I hope that our government successfully completes its full term,” Swaraj tweeted in Hindi on Thursday.
Swaraj was appointed the External Affairs Minister in the first term of Modi government in 2014. She opted out of the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections citing health reasons.
During her tenure, the BJP leader has been active and popular on Twitter reaching out to the Indian diaspora in distress for assistance.
Narendra Modi, who got a massive mandate in the elections, took oath as Prime Minister again for a second consecutive term inducting confidant and BJP President Amit Shah into his Cabinet along with the surprise inclusion of former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, while retaining most of his earlier Cabinet ministers and dropping seniors like Suresh Prabhu, Maneka Gandhi and Radha Mohan Singh.
Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman, Nitin Gadkari, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Sadanand Gowda and Smriti Irani were among the Cabinet ministers who took oath along with representatives of BJP allies–Ram Vilas Paswan (LJSP), Harsimrat Kaur (Akali Dal), Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena) and Ramdas Athawale (RPI-A) who will be a Minister of State.
Speculation is rife that Shah may be entrusted the Finance portfolio while the External Affairs Ministry may go to Jaishankar, who had earned the trust of Modi in his earlier avatar as Foreign Secretary. Rajnath and Sitharaman are expected to retain Home and Defence respectively while Irani, who defeated Rahul Gandhi in Amethi may get a heavy portfolio.
The 58-member council of ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Ram Nath Kovind in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan before a gathering of over 6,000 guests that included heads of governments and states from BIMSTEC countries, Prime Minister of Mauritius, President of Kyrgyzstan, political leaders, captains of industry, Bollywood and other film celebrities and diplomatic representatives stationed in Delhi.