Film industry stalwarts Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth and Salman Khan and veteran singer Lata Mangeshkar are in the list of those invited for the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi, BJP sources said.
Lata Mangeshkar had in January this year blessed Modi in Mumbai and wished him all success in his endeavours while Salman met Modi in Ahmedabad during the kite flying festival for a film promotion a few months ago.
Salman’s father, veteran Bollywood story-writer Salim Khan has been a strong fan and follower of Modi and even asked minorities to forgive and forget the past and look to the future.
The evergreen actress Rekha is also likely to travel to the national capital as also some prominent sports-persons from different disciplines.
The celebrities are part of a long list of 2,500 guests for the oath-taking ceremony, which will be held in the gravelled forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 26 evening.
All Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members will be invited, which alone add up to 777. These MPs have been invited by Rashtrapati Bhavan. However, they cannot bring their spouses, according to the sources.
Former presidents Pratibha Patil and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam are also invited. Outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be there along with some members of his cabinet.
Modi’s mother Hiraben and his three brothers are also expected to attend the event, though this has not yet been confirmed.
The incoming prime minister can invite up to 20 guests, while ministers who will be taking oath can bring up to four guests each.
A number of BJP leaders from Gujarat are also expected to arrive in Delhi for the function, scheduled to be held at 6 p.m. Monday.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been limited to 1,250 guests, while another 1,250 guests will be invited by the president. The party will also invite the chief ministers of all National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ruled states.
This is the first time leaders from SAARC nations have been invited for the oath-taking ceremony of an Indian prime minister. The external affairs ministry Friday said eight heads of state and government were invited and seven have confirmed, while a response from Pakistan is awaited.
Modi will be the third Indian prime minister to take oath in the open forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan instead of the ceremonial Ashoka Hall after Chandra Shekhar (1990) and Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998). – IANS