The Missing Faces

The swearing-in of a Prime Minister holds the promise of a new growth cycle as much as it illustrates how transfer of power can happen peacefully. May 26, 2014 too heralded the arrival of a new government helmed by Narendra Modi. As curtains fell on the world’s largest democratic elections, the swearing in of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India brought forward the possibility of renewal of ties with representatives of SAARC countries. While the event was attended by the who’s who of Indian politics, there were some omissions who did not make it to the swearing in:
J. Jayalalithaa: The Tamil Nadu CM, J. Jayalalithaa, had hoped that the new Government would be sensitive towards the Tamilians. The CM refused to attend the swearing-in due to the invitation extended to the Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapakse, who allegedly oversaw the genocide in Sri Lanka and remained President while innocent Tamilians were killed in the crossfire.
Siddharamaiah: Siddharamaiah, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, did not attend the swearing in as he considered the induction of B.S. Yeddyurappa and his party’s subsequent merger with the BJP as a classic example of double speak on the issue of corruption.
Oommen Chandy: Though Oommen Chandy has personally not launched an all-out attack or taken barbs at Modi, the Kerala CM too did not attend the swearing in as he is most likely aware of the grim situation he faces back home due to his name cropping up in the solar scam. Secondly, Modi is still considered a "communal" figure in Kerala. Many Malayalam newspapers too vehemently condemned his meeting with the Prime Minister designate before elections.
Mamata Banerjee: The election campaign witnessed some steady and high-pitched barbs by Narendra Modi at the West Bengal CM who even dubbed him as a butcher. Her attempt to consolidate and protect her secular image also witnessed her slamming doors for a possible alliance. However, two MPs Mukul Roy and Sougata Roy from the TMC attended the swearing in.
Mayawati: Given the massive drubbings of the BSP at the hustings, the Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati did not attend the swearing in thus reiterating her intense dislike for "communal forces". On the day of the results (May 16), she even went on to term the BJP-led NDA's landslide victory as "the rise of communal forces". 

P.S.: This post was originally written for Centre Right India, a policy research think-tank. It was published on June 3, 2014. You may want to read the original piece here


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