The Patiala peg cannot get bigger than this! From the new chief minister of Punjab to the second and third in command, it was Patiala all the way in the new cabinet of Captain Amarinder Singh.
A Patiala peg was also in order. After all, the erstwhile Patiala royal has returned as CM for the second term after 10 years of party’s dry run in state elections.
With former Prime Minister Manmahon Singh and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in attendance, Amarinder was sworn in as the 26th chief minister of Punjab by Governor VP Singh Badnore on Thursday morning in a simple but well-attended gathering at the Raj Bhawan.
Six-time MLA Brahm Mohindra, the senior-most along with Amarinder, was next in the pecking order. Mohindra, MLA from Patiala (rural) took oath after Amarinder, who is the Patiala (urban) MLA. The city has returned Amarinder with the highest margin in the state. Next came, Navjot Singh Sidhu, who also hails from Patiala though his political innings had started from Amritsar with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The oath-taking scene was a picture of national integrity: Amarinder took his oath in English, Mohindra in Hindi and Sidhu in Punjabi. Manpreet Badal, the estranged nephew of former CM Parkash Singh Badal, was fourth in line. Both Manpreet and Sidhu went to Rahul and Manmohan after taking the oath to seek their blessings.
While the presence of party’s national leadership signified how important the victory in Punjab was for the poll-weary party, euphoric Punjab Congress MLAs, leaders and supporters, thronged the ceremony despite Amarinder’s diktat to keep it low-key.
Five other ministers and two ministers of state, both women, were administered oath in the council of ministers, including Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Rana Gurjit Singh and former leader of opposition, Charanjit Singh Channi.
The only two women MLAs, Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultana, were sworn in as ministers of state with independent charge.
Punjab chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal conducted the ceremony, which was attended by a host of prominent political and other dignitaries, including Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh, former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former Punjab chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Sachin Pilot, Ashwani Kumar, Natwar Singh, UP Congress chief Raj Babbar, Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar and Ajay Maken.
Modi tweets congrats
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had called up Captain Amarinder on the day of the declaration of the results, took to Twitter to congratulate the new Punjab CM, wishing him “the very best in working for Punjab’s development.” Amarinder tweeted his thanks in response.
Congratulations @capt_amarinder on taking oath as CM. Wishing you the very best in working for Punjab’s development.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 16, 2017