Captain Amarinder Singh takes charge in Punjab

After steering the Congress to a big election victory, Captain Amarinder Singh took oath as Punjab Chief Minister in Chandigarh on March 16. Navjot Singh Sidhu, Manpreet Badal among ministers

PTI Photo
PTI Photo


After steering the Congress to a stupendous victory in the assembly polls, Captain Amarinder Singh took oath as Punjab Chief Minister in Chandigarh on March 16. This will be Amarinder Singh's second stint as chief minister. The 75-year-old Amarinder was sworn in by Governor VP Singh Badnore as the state's 26th chief minister along with nine ministers, including Navjot Singh Sidhu, Braham Mohindra, Manpreet Singh Badal, Sadhu Singh Dharamkot, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Rana Gurjit Singh Sodhi and Charanjit Singh Channi. Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultana were also sworn in as Ministers of State with independent charge at the ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan.

Congress sources said that an expansion of the state cabinet would take place at a later date. The state can have a maximum of 18 ministers, including the Chief Minister. The Congress has 77 MLAs in the 117 member assembly.

Amarinder had announced that the oath taking ceremony would be a simple affair in view of the financial crisis facing the state. The ceremony was attended a galaxy of senior Congress leaders led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Anand Sharma, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Ajay Maken, Sachin Pilot and Partap Singh Bajwa, among others. Amarinder's wife former Union Minister Preneet Kaur and his family members were also present.

New entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 20 seats and two seats went to its ally Lok Insaaf Party. SAD-BJP alliance was relegated to the third spot with 18 seats in the new Punjab assembly. The Leader of Opposition will be AAP’s HS Phoolka.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also congratulated Amarinder Singh on taking over as Punjab Chief Minister.

'Priority will be to restore lost glory of Punjab'

Newly-inducted Punjab Cabinet Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, the estranged nephew of ex-Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, today said priority of the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government will be to restore the "lost glory" of the state. Manpreet, who had served as the finance minister in the SAD-BJP government in 2007, said the Congress government's priority would be to "bring the state's economy, which has been completely devastated under the SAD-BJP regime, back on track". "We are committed to bringing the state back on the path of growth and development," he said.

Replying to a question, the cabinet minister indicated that some of the "lopsided" policies of the previous SAD-BJP government will be undone by the Congress government. "Many things will be undone... We want to restore Punjab's pride, which has gone missing. When I was a boy, there used to be a spring in our step as Punjab was right there on the top. We want to restore that," he said.

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