Capt Amarinder Takes Charge in Punjab, Sidhu Gets Tourism Ministry

  • Navjot Singh Sidhu gets local government and tourism ministries
  • Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh took oath as Punjab CM in a ceremony at Raj Bhavan
  • Nine other Congress leaders, including Sidhu, took oath as cabinet ministers
  • Singh became Punjab chief minister for the second time after 2007
  • Amarinder Singh led the Congress to victory in Punjab after a gap of 10 years, bagging 77 of 117 seats

Navjot Singh Sidhu has been handed the Local Government, Tourism and Cultural Affairs, and Archives and Museums portfolios in the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government.

However, CNNNews18 reports that Sidhu is unhappy with the development. As per speculation, Sidhu had been angling for the Deputy Chief Minister’s office.

Other important leaders inducted on Thursday include Manpreet Badal –the estranged nephew of outgoing Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal– who will handle the portfolios of Planning and Employment Generation.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh took charge of his office at the Punjab Secretariat on Thursday amid recitation of multi-religious prayers.

The second-floor office of Punjab's 26th chief minister reverberated with the chanting of sacred hymns from the Bhagwad Gita, the Guru Granth Sahib, the Quran and the Bible as he entered it along with several of his newly inducted ministerial colleagues, MLAs and associates.

This is the second time that Amarinder occupies the Punjab chief minister's office. He had earlier been the chief minister of the state from 2002 to 2007.

Amarinder Singh takes charge as Punjab chief minister. (Photo: ANI)

Amarinder Singh Takes Oath, Nine Ministers Inducted

Amarinder Singh was sworn in as Punjab chief minister on Thursday. He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor VP Singh Badnore at an impressive ceremony at the Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh.

Amarinder, a former Army captain, took the oath in English.

Nine ministers, including two women, were also inducted.

The ministers inducted included Brahm Mohindra, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Manpreet Badal, Charanjit Singh Channi, Rana Gurjeet Singh, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa.

The two women inducted are Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultana. Both will be ministers of state with independent charge.

Top Congress leaders, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, attended the ceremony.

A wax statue of Captain Amarinder Singh, who took oath as Punjab’s Chief Minister on Thursday for the second time, was unveiled at Ludhiana. The wax statute took three months to be completed and is meant to be a tribute to the Captain for his good deeds.

On Wednesday, Punjab chief minister-designate Captain Amarinder Singh said that he didn't want to appoint a deputy CM. Former cricketer and Congress MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu was in the fray to become the deputy chief minister.

Singh is supposed to take oath as chief minister on Thursday in a ceremony which will be attended by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi.

"Having a deputy CM is not the Congress' way... Punjab has never had a deputy... because there is no point making power centres, which will be harmful for the state," he said in an interview to CNN News18.

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Talking about Sidhu, Singh said, “Which portfolio (he gets) is for later, but Sidhu will be a minister for sure. It is a commitment by our leadership in Delhi. He will be part of the government. (sic)

He said that he was impressed by Sidhu's performance in the elections and pointed out that Sidhu won by a huge margin of 42,000 votes.

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Amarinder Singh, who led the Congress to victory in Punjab after a gap of 10 years, will take oath as the state's 26th chief minister on Thursday morning in a simple ceremony.

Singh, who turned 75 on 11 March, the day state assembly results were declared, is likely to induct nine ministers initially, party sources said adding that the cabinet would be expanded later.

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The state can have a maximum of 18 ministers. The Congress has 77 MLAs in the assembly. Singh and members of his cabinet will be administered oath by Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore at the Raj Bhavan.

The chief minister-designate has decided to go in for a simple swearing-in ceremony as an austerity measure.

"There will be nothing ostentatious about the oath-taking programme at the Raj Bhawan on Thursday morning, when Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore will administer the oath of office to Amarinder Singh as the new chief minister of the state," Punjab Congress had said.

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