Badal takes over as Punjab CM for fifth time (Second Lead)

March 14th, 2012 - 5:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Shivraj Patil Chandigarh, March 14 (IANS) Parkash Singh Badal Wednesday became Punjab’s oldest chief minister Wednesday when he was sworn in for a record fifth time at the historic Sikh battlefield of Chappar Chiri in Mohali, 20 km from here.

He took the oath in Punjabi.

Badal — who had earlier been chief minister in 1969, 1977, 1997 and 2007 — was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Shivraj Patil in the presence of many top political leaders and thousands of people.

Badal’s son and ruling Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal was sworn in as deputy chief minister of Punjab.

Sixteeen other ministers, including a woman minister, Jagir Kaur, were sworn in.

Beating the traditional anti-incumbency factor, the Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine had recently bagged a comfortable majority with 68 seats in the 117-member Punjab assembly.

Amongst those watching the ceremony were senior BJP leader and former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani, BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal as well as union minister Praful Patel.

Besides Badal, four other members of the Badal family are in the new cabinet — son Sukhbir Badal, son-in-law Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon, Sukhbir’s brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia and another relative Janmeja Singh Sekhon.

The ministers in the outgoing Badal government (2007-2012) who have retained their places include Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon, Ajit Singh Kohar, Gulzar Singh Ranike, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Janmeja Singh Sekhon and Surjit Kumar Jyani (BJP).

Seven ministers of the outgoing government had lost in the recent assembly poll.

Senior Akali Dal leaders Sarwan Singh Phillaur, former minister Tota Singh, former Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Jagir Kaur were also inducted as cabinet ministers

New faces in the ministry include Anil Joshi (BJP), Surjit Singh Rakhra, who defeated Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh’s son, Raninder Singh and Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, a former MP of Ludhiana.

The Akali Dal has kept 14 ministerial slots with itself while alliance partner BJP has got four berths. The BJP ministers include Bhagat Chunni Lal, Madan Mohan Mittal, Surjit Kumar Jyani and Anil Joshi.

The venue of the oath-taking ceremony has the country’s highest tower - Fateh Burj (Victory Tower) - which is dedicated to the memory of the Sikh warrior, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, who established the Sikh state in the country by defeating Mughal forces led by Wazir Khan.

The battle was fought to avenge the killing of the four young sons of tenth Sikh guru, Gobind Singh, and hundreds of other Sikhs and Hindus by the Mughal forces.

It is for the first time in over four decades that a government has been able to return to power for a consecutive term in Punjab.

While the Akalis won 56 seats, the BJP bagged 12 seats.

The Congress, which was hopeful of being elected to power this time, got only 46 seats.

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