Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi will attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s oath ceremony today, sources have said. PM Modi’s second swearing-in will be a grand event at the presidential palace Rashtrapati Bhavan in the presence of politicians, world leaders and celebrities.

Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi’s decision stands out after an acrimonious election that saw PM Modi and other BJP leaders relentlessly targeting them as well as Priyanka Gandhi Vadra; the Gandhi siblings hitting right back.

PM Modi was condemned by the opposition for targeting even former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi – Sonia Gandhi’s husband – who was assassinated in 1991 by an LTTE suicide bomber.

The BJP, led by PM Modi, won a staggering victory in the national election and a clear mandate to retain power for a second term – a feat achieved only by the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi in the past. 

The Congress, at the same time, has suffered a crushing defeat and has been decimated in 18 states and union territories. The party is in an existential crisis that has intensified with Rahul Gandhi’s refusal to continue as Congress president after the drubbing, and his insistence that a non-Gandhi should lead the organization for a change.

Since Saturday, the Congress has been trying to persuade Rahul Gandhi to change his mind.

Leaders from BIMSTEC countries, the Prime Minister of Mauritius and the President of Kyrgystan – who is also the chair of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) – will attend the oath ceremony.