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Friday, June 21, 2024

Modi, Striking a Modest Tone, Is Sworn In for a Third Term

WorldModi, Striking a Modest Tone, Is Sworn In for a Third Term

As a humbled Narendra Modi was sworn in on Sunday for a third term as India’s prime minister, the political air in New Delhi appeared transformed.

The election that ended last week stripped Mr. Modi of his parliamentary majority and forced him to turn to a diverse set of coalition partners to stay in power. Now, these other parties are enjoying something that for years was singularly Mr. Modi’s: relevance and the spotlight.

Their leaders have been swarmed by TV crews while on their way to present demands and policy opinions to Mr. Modi. His opponents, too, have been getting more airtime, with stations cutting live to their news conferences, something almost unheard-of in recent years.

Above all, the change can be seen in Mr. Modi himself. For now, at least, the messianic air is gone. He pitches himself as the modest administrator that voters showed they wanted.

“To run the government, a majority is necessary. But to run the nation, a consensus is necessary,” Mr. Modi said in a speech on Friday to members of his coalition ahead of his swearing in. “The people want us to deliver better than before.”

A visibly emotional Mr. Modi took the oath of office on Sunday evening, only the second prime minister to be elected for a third consecutive term in the seven decades of India’s republic. The ceremony, at the country’s presidential palace, was attended by about 8,000 supporters and dignitaries, including the leaders of India’s neighboring nations.

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