Amarinder takes over as Punjab CM

Amarinder takes over as Punjab CM

Amarinder takes over as Punjab CM

Capt Amarinder Singh was on Thursday sworn in as the 26th chief minister of Punjab in a simple ceremony, which was attended by a host of Congress leaders, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh and party vice president Rahul Gandhi, among others.

Capt Amarinder’s nine-member council of ministers was also administered the oath of secrecy by Governor V P Singh Badnore at the Raj Bhavan in Chandigarh. Unlike the previous regimes, there will be no deputy chief minister, at least for now.

Navjot Singh Sidhu, former BJP MP and Congress MLA from Amritsar East, and Manpreet Badal, former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s estranged nephew, were among those sworn in as cabinet ministers. Capt Amarinder has preferred a small cabinet to begin with.

Women MLAs Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultana were sworn in as ministers of state with independent charge. Sidhu will look after the local bodies department and tourism, while Manpreet will handle finance.

Capt Amarinder took charge of his new office at the secretariat amid prayers. The second floor office reverberated with the chanting of sacred hymns from the Bhagavad Gita, the Guru Granth Sahib, the Quran and the Bible as he entered the premises. The first cabinet meeting is scheduled for Saturday.

The chief minister reiterated his promise to constitute a Special Task Force to wipe out the drug menace from the state within four weeks.

Senior bureaucrat Karan A Singh was appointed as the chief secretary, replacing incumbent Sarvesh Kaushal.