Former Rajya Sabha MP Kaptan Singh Solanki (75) was on Sunday sworn in as the 16th governor of Haryana by the acting chief justice of Punjab and Haryana high court, justice Ashutosh Mohunta, at Haryana Raj Bhavan. Solanki, who took the oath in Hindi, succeeds Jagnnath Pahadia whose term ended on Saturday.
Earlier, Haryana chief secretary SC Choudhary read out the warrant of the President, Pranab Mukherjee, appointing Solanki as the Haryana governor. On his arrival, Solanki was also given a guard of honour at the Chandigarh airport.
The septuagenarian BJP veteran joins as Haryana governor at a time when the state government is locked in a war of words with neighbouring Punjab and Central government over the enactment of a contentious legislation for establishing a separate Gurdwara management committee for Haryana.
Last week, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) had written to governor Pahadia requesting him to withdraw his assent to the contentious legislation. Union home secretary Anil Goswami, who sent a communication to Haryana chief secretary and secretary to the governor, had quoted the legal advice of attorney general, Mukul Rohtagi, on the issue. Rohtagi had said that Haryana government was denuded of any jurisdiction to pass any bill in respect of which Parliament has exclusive power to enact a law. He said the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, falls within the Union List. "The law is already in place since 1925 and there is no justification for the Haryana assembly to have passed a law on the same subject,” the A-G said.
Solanki’s remarks on Saturday that the Centre’s directive should be adhered to and the opinion of the judiciary can be sought by making a Presidential reference has fuelled speculations about the course of action he may adopt in days to come.
The oath-taking ceremony was attended by Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, his cabinet colleagues, judges of the Punjab and Haryana high court, senior officers of Haryana, Punjab and the
Union Territory of Chandigarh and prominent citizens of the city. Solanki was born in Garhpara village of Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind district on July 1, 1939. Educated at Ujjain’s Vikram University, Maharani Luxmibai College, Jiwaji University, Gwalior, Solanki hold a BEd and MA degrees. He was twice elected to the Rajya Sabha in August 2009 and in August 2012.
Earlier in the morning, the outgoing governor Jagannath Pahadia was accorded a hearty send-off at the Haryana Raj Bhavan.
- Justice Ashutosh Mohunta who administered the oath to Kaptan Singh Solanki had to interrupt to stop the new governor from reading out the oath of secrecy. The Constitution does not provide for governor to take an oath of secrecy. The oath of secrecy is only mandated for ministers for the union and state.
- An ecstatic Haryana BJP president, Ram Bilas Sharma, was keen on introducing several persons, including some Haryana IAS officers to Solanki during the high tea. However, his joy was cut short by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda . While introducing an IAS officer, the state BJP told the Guv that the officer belonged to his (Sharma’s) village. “Yeh to mere gaon se hain.” Hooda, however, left Sharma red faced when he asked the BJP leader to spell out the name of the village to which the IAS officer actually belonged.
- Chandigarh officials had blocked the front row seats at the venue by seating their own personnel. The moment UT inspector heneral RP Upadhyaya and adviser to the UT administrator, KK Sharma, arrived at the venue, the personnel dutifully vacated the seats for their top officers.