NEW DELHI: In a dignified function rarely seen, Indian television channels today globally beamed live the swearing in of Narendra Modi as the fifteenth Prime Minister of the country, along with his team of 44 Ministers and Ministers of State.
Around 4,000 people including all the leaders of the SAARC countries and Mauritius were present in the front courtyard of Rashtrapati Bhavan where President Pranab Mukherjee swore in the Prime Minister and his team.
Apart from the stars of Bollywood who have made it to the portals of Parliament House, others who were present included Anupam Kher, Dharmendra, Salman Khan with father Salim Khan, Bappie Lahiri, Suresh Oberoi and Vivek Oberoi.
The winning stars seen at the ceremony included Vinod Khanna, Manoj Tiwari, Smriti Irani and Hema Malini.
While all television channels were allowed to come to Rashtrapati Bhavan and were stationed at the back of the entire assembly, only Doordarshan was permitted to beam the oath taking ceremony from close quarters.
As a result, most channels beamed the ceremony by taking the feed from Doordarshan, though many had their own commentators and experts who spoke about the various persons as they were sworn in.
While channels like Times Now preferred to show the commentary by Doordarshan’s Sanjeev Upadhyaya and Gaura Lal Dhawan before and after the swearing in, several other channels like NDTV 24x7 showed the visuals from DD but had its own experts speaking about each person as he/she came up to take the oath.
DD, which had the live coverage on its national channel and DD News, also made arrangements for simultaneous translation into sign language for the hearing impaired. The live telecast was also beamed live on DD’s website and its channel on YouTube, President Pranab Mukherjee's site presidentofindia.nic.in and on the Prime Minister's website pmindia.nic.in.
The telecast commenced around 40 minutes before the ceremony commenced, showing the arrival of various VIPs and leaders of different parties, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
The last time that ceremonies of this nature – though smaller magnitude – were held in the front courtyard of Rashtrapati Bhavan was in 1990 and 1998 when Chandrashekhar and Atal Behari Vajpayee were sworn in as Prime Ministers.
However, this was the first time since 1991 (when Rajiv Gandhi was cremated) that all the SAARC leaders were seen together in India.
Modi, who has been tweeting throughout the campaign and even after being elected, used the opportunity to send out a message to the people and the media through the Prime Minister’s website, pmindia.nic.in.
Referring to the social media and the internet, he said: “I envision this website as a very important medium of direct communication between us. I am a firm believer in the power of technology and social media to communicate with people across the world. I hope this platform creates opportunities to listen, learn and share one's views.
"Through this website you will also get all the latest information about my speeches, schedules, foreign visits and lot more. I will also keep informing you about innovative initiatives undertaken by the Government of India."
A section has been inserted on the website to greet the Prime Minister or send him a message.