The Indian government has invited the leaders of the BIMSTEC member states for the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister on May 30, according to the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on Monday, adding that “this is in line with the government's focus on its 'Neighbourhood First' policy”. The BIMSTEC member states include Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan and India.
Besides, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, who is the current chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Prime Minister of Mauritius, who was the Chief Guest at this year's Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, have also been invited to the ceremony, the MEA added.
However, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will miss the event as she will be on a three-nation foreign visit, PTI quoted a government release as saying. This is the second consecutive time that Hasina is set to miss the event. Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq will attend the ceremony as the senior-most Cabinet member of the Bangladesh government.
Besides, top stars of Tamil cinema, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, have been invited for the swearing-in ceremony, PTI added. While Haasan, whose fledgling political party Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) had made its electoral debut this Lok Sabha polls, Rajinikanth is yet to formalise his December 2017 announcement on taking the political plunge.
Sources close to both actors acknowledged the two being invited to Modi's swearing-in scheduled on Thursday, but did not divulge if the veterans would participate.
Incidentally, Haasan has been opposed to the BJP, even expressing joy that the saffon party which swept the Lok Sabha seats in rest of the country, did not win a single seat in Tamil Nadu, saying the state did not toe the national line.
His remarks that free India's first extremist was a Hindu, referring to Nathuram Godse who had gunned down Mahatma Gandhi, had drawn a strong reaction from the state BJP, which even moved the Election Commission, seeking action against him.
Rajinikanth, whom Modi had met in the past during his visit to the city, had in December 2017 announced that he will indeed take the political plunge, by floating a party that would contest from all the 234 Assembly seats in the state in the next general elections.
The next Assembly polls are due in 2021.