Amarinder Singh, Sidhu Take Oath; Manmohan, Rahul Watch
Chandigarh: Captain Amarinder Singh took oath as chief minister at Raj Bhavan here on Thursday. He was followed by nine Cabinet minister including Test cricketer- turned- politician Navjot Sidhu.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress party Vice President Rahul Gandhi were present on the occasion. Captain Amarinder Singh as PCC president led the party to a massive victory in the just concluded Assembly elections. Congresses bagged 77 seats as against 20 by the Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) and 18 by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the BJP alliance in 117-seat Assembly.
Navjot Sidhu,who resigned from Rajya Sabha and the primary membership of the BJP, played his role in the campaign effectively. After talks with AAP failed, Sidhu joined the Congress weeks before filing of nominations. He was reportedly keen on becoming a deputy chief minister. But he was the third to take oath. Congress party’s senior-most legislator Brahm Mohinder Singh was administered oath of office after Amarinder Singh was sworn in. Sidhu followed Mohinder Singh. After taking the oath, Sidhu touched the feet of Captain Amarinder Singh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his greetings to Amarinder Singh soon after the latter took oath of office. Rajinder Singh Bajwa, four-time legislator, and the richest legislator Rana Gurjit Singh also took oath as ministers. Founder of People’s Party of Punjab, which later merged with the Congress, Manpreet Singh Badal was one of the ministers. He is a nephew of the outgoing chief minister Prakash Singh Badal. Manpreet was finance minister in Badal’s Cabinet before they drifted apart.
Sidhu who commented that ‘no one can whistle a symphony’ later mellowed down and said he is a soldier in Rahul’s army. “I will sacrifice myself for Punjab. I want Punjab to prosper,” said Sidhu. It is difficult for Sidhu to realise his dream of becoming deputy chief minister at the first opportunity since the senior Congressmen are objecting to the hype being created around a newcomer like Sidhu.
The Congress leaders have announced that there will be no victory celebration since Punjab is in dire financial crisis and it has many other serious problems. There is a debt burden of ₹37,000 on every citizen of Punjab with total debt at ₹1.25 lakh crore. Captain Amarinder Singh commented that the Congress does not want to celebrate when the people of Punjab are suffering.