Bhagwant Singh Mann takes CM oath, vows Punjab's 'golden chapter'
The Asian Age With Agency Inputs| Age Correspondent
The governor later also administered the oath to Dr Inderbir Singh Nijjar as protem speaker of the Punjab Legislative Assembly
AAP leader Bhagwant Mann with Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit during his oath-taking ceremony, at Khatkar Kalan the birthplace of Shaheed Bhagat Singh on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi/Chandigarh: "Hukumat wo karte hain jinka dilon par raaj hota hai, yun toh kehne ko murge ke sir par bhi taaj hota hai," said Bhagwant Singh Mann, who on Wednesday took the oath as Punjab’s new chief minister. Mr Mann was sworn in at a special ceremony held at Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, where governor Banwarilal Purohit administered him the oath of office and secrecy. Soon after that, the new CM shouted "Inqalab Zindabad", "Jo Bole so Nihal" and "Bharat Mata ki Jai" as his senior party colleagues Arvind Kerjiwal and Manish Sisodia, along with the entire Aam Aadmi Party core team, sporting yellow turbans, watched with joy. Mr Mann’s son and daughter had specially flown in from the United States to be a part of this special moment. The 48-year-old leader is a former comedian and was the AAP’s face in Punjab for the past 10 years.
The governor later also administered the oath to Dr Inderbir Singh Nijjar as pro-tem speaker of the Punjab Legislative Assembly.
Mr Mann said a "golden chapter" has started in the state’s history and it would be "badhta" (progressive) Punjab, rather than "Udta Punjab", in a reference to the 2016 blockbuster that highlighted Punjab’s drug problem.
"Ishq karna sabka paidaishi haq hai kyun na is baar watan ki sarzamin ko mehboob bana liya jaye," said Mr Mann, quoting Bhagat Singh, after taking the oath, as he appealed to the party cadre and the newly elected AAP MLAs of Punjab not to show arrogance or challenge rivals for this victory and be restrainted in public and on the social media with their utterances. "Ahankar nahi karna, lalkaar nahi karna. Waqt aur public bahut badi cheez hai... I’m not here to diss anyone today. I am the chief minister of everyone in Punjab, even those who did not vote for our party. I appeal to you all to not get arrogant. We have to respect even those who did not vote for us. I thank you all and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal," said Mr Mann.
Later, Mr Mann received a guard of honour at Punjab Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh and was greeted by chief secretary Punjab Anirudh Tiwari, director-general of police V.K. Bhawra and additional chief secretary to CM A. Venu Prasad as he took charge at the CM’s office. Mr Mann got a rousing welcome by employees standing around and in balconies when he assumed charge of his office at the Civil Secretariat. He also waved at them. After taking charge, Mr Mann, in a short but clear message to the officers and employees, said the people of the state had given a historic mandate and his government will work for pro-people policies. Mr Mann also pledged that the officers and employees will work in tandem for the betterment of the lives of the people, a Punjab government release said.
"It (AAP winning 92 seats in the Punjab Assembly) is just a beginning. Their (AAP) ideology is special. I pray that God gives them (AAP) courage to make Punjab prosperous," said Punjabi singer Gurdas Maan, who was present at Mr Mann’s swearing-in. The venue was draped in yellow and was on 40 acres of land near the Bhagat Singh memorial in the village in Nawanshahr district. The AAP cadre too wore yellow and organised langars across the state.
Mr Mann was flooded with congratulatory messages from several leaders across India, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "Congratulations to Shri @BhagwantMann Ji on taking oath as Punjab CM. Will work together for the growth of Punjab and welfare of the state’s people," the PM tweeted.
"Many, many congratulations and best wishes to Bhagwant Mann on becoming chief minister of Punjab. I am sure that under your leadership, prosperity will return to Punjab, there will be a lot of progress and the people’s problems will be solved. God is with you," said Delhi CM and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal.
"I congratulate @BhagwantMann on being sworn in as chief minister. I thank him for inviting me to his swearing in. Due to Parliament being in session I will not be able to make it. It is ironic I was not invited to @CHARANJITCHANNI’s swearing-in though he was one of my MLAs," tweeted senior Congress leader and MP Manish Tewari.
Tamil Nadu CM M.K. Stalin too wished Mr Mann, saying: "My hearty wishes to Thiru @BhagwantMann, who is swearing in as chief minister of Punjab today. Tamil Nadu & Punjab share a long history of being vocal about linguistic rights & rights of the state in the Indian Union. Wishing the new government in Punjab a successful tenure."