Chandigarh March 16
Captain Amarinder Singh took oath as the chief minister of Punjab today at the Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh paving way for the return of the Congress to power in the state after a gap of ten years.After taking oath for second time he has also become the 26th Chief Minister of Punjab. In the recently-held Assembly elections, the Congress was victorious in 77 seats, successfully thwarting the challenge of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and decimating the incumbent Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) alliance.
Attended by former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, the swearing-in ceremony saw Navjot Singh Sidhu, who left the BJP for the Congress before elections, taking oath as a cabinet minister. Sidhu was speculated to get the deputy chief minister’s post, but it did not eventually happen. Both Sidhu and Amarinder Singh hail from the state’s Malwa region. Sidhu, after being administered oath by the Punjab Governor, touched Singh’s feet as a mark of respect.
Gandhi later told reporters, “I thank people of Punjab for showing faith in us. We will work for the state tirelessly.”
Navjot Singh Sidhu being administered oath of office and secrecy
Some of the other ministers who took oath include Manpreet Singh Badal, Razia Sultana, MLA from Malerkotla, Aruna Chaudhary, Rana Gurjit Singh and Brahm Mohindra.
While all the Punjab MLAs, including AAP, SAD and BJP MLAs, were invited, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was left out. Kejriwal and Singh were engaged in a war of words during election campaigning.
Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi and Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh in attendance
After the AAP emerged as the main opposition party in the Assembly, HS Phoolka, who was victorious from Dakha, was nominated as the leader of opposition. The AAP has 20 MLAs in the Assembly.