Narendra Modi paid tributes at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial in Rajghat in New Delhi on Thursday morning, ahead of his swearing-in ceremony as the prime minister for the second time. Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah also paid tributes to late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the Sadaiv Atal Samadhi. The prime minister also visited the National War Memorial to pay tributes.

Modi will take oath at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, along with his new Cabinet. The ceremony will be held at 7 pm. President Ram Nath Kovind will administer the oath of office to Modi.

Nearly 8,000 guests will attend the event, IANS reported. They will be treated to high tea by Kovind. “It will be the biggest-ever event at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, 8,000 people are coming,” Ashok Malik, press secretary to the president, said.

Modi has invited leaders from the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, or BIMSTEC, bloc for his oath-taking ceremony. BIMSTEC is a regional group comprising India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Myanmar President U Win Myint, Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering will attend the event, while Thailand will be represented by its Special Envoy to India, Grisada Boonrach, IANS reported.

Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov will also attend the event.

Political leaders

Congress President Rahul Gandhi and United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will attend the ceremony, PTI reported. The Congress won just 52 seats in contrast with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s 303 in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The chief ministers of all states have been invited for the ceremony. However, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has declined the invitation, and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has cited prior engagements. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has expressed his inability to be present, India Today reported.

Superstar Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan, both of whom have entered politics, have been invited for the ceremony. The families of 50 BJP workers who were killed in violence in West Bengal have also been reportedly invited.

Traffic problems

The Delhi Traffic Police said on Wednesday that arterial roads to Rashtrapati Bhavan will remain closed between 4 pm and 9 pm due to the ceremony. “Traffic diversions have been made for the rush coming from Akbar Road, Rajpath, Teen Murti Marg, Krishna Menon Marg, Pandit Pant Marg, Talkatora Road, Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Road, Thyagaraj Marg and SP Marg,” the police advisory read according to the Hindustan Times.

Traffic will also be diverted from Kushak Road, K Kamaraj Marg, Rajaji Marg, Shanti Path, Raisina Road, beyond Rail Bhawan roundabout towards Parliament House and Moti Lal Nehru Marg, the traffic police said.