The forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi is decking up in great manner for the ceremony where Narendra Modi will take oath as the 15th Prime Minister of India on 26 May at 6 pm.
About 3,000 dignitaries from home and abroad are expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony of new Prime Minister of India. A strong security cover is also being set up in the premises.
As the arrangements for the mega event are underway, visitors and tourists will not be allowed to the impressive residence of the first citizen of India on both 24 and 25 May.
So far, only Chandra Shekhar Singh (1990) and Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1996 and again in 1998) have taken oath as Prime Ministers at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The same decorators who made the arrangements for the oath-taking function of Vajpayee have been called in.
It is understood that as part of the beautification of the venue with flowers, a unique blue carpet has been brought in, in addition to the usual red carpet, to greet the guests.
The ceremony is expected to last for one hour in the evening. Seating arrangements are being made in a semi-circular shape. There will be a vegetarian high tea for all the guests.
"Foreign Secretary Mrs Sujatha Singh has sent invites to her counterparts from seven other Saarc members states. In this communication, she has conveyed to them, on behalf of PM-designate Narendra Modi an invitation to their leaders to the swearing-in ceremony on the 26th of this month. These communications have just gone off and we are now awaiting a response," The Economic Times quoted Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbarruddin.
Tight security arrangements are being made at the venue for the guests. The Rashtrapati Bhavan personnel are keenly overseeing the arrangements. Ministry of Home Affairs and BJP leaders are also supervising proceedings.
BJP top brass are said to be taking special care with regard to security arrangements for Modi and other top leaders like LK Advani, who is in the hit list of terror groups.
President Pranab Mukherjee is understood to be getting updated from time to time on the arrangements being made in the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
It is understood that the Durbar Hall is also being decked to meet any emergencies. The Hall can accommodate about 500 guests. But no guest is going to stay in the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the day.
There has been furor over invitation to the guests to the swearing-in ceremony, like never before. A lot of media attention is on Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Sharif is yet to confirm his presence at the cermony.
Leaders from Tamil Nadu, including Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and Vijayakant, have expressed their displeasure over inviting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the function.
The TN CM has also issued a press statement, stating that the BJP's invitation to Rajapaksa has hurt the sentiments of Tamil people, keeping in view of the Sri Lanka's alleged oppressive policy towards Lankan Tamils.