After steering the Congress to a stupendous victory, Amarinder Singh today took oath as Punjab chief minister. 75-year-old Amarinder was sworn in as the state's 26th chief minister along with nine ministers, including Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Speculation was rife that the cricketer-turned politician would be given the post of deputy chief minister but he was the third among the list of nine ministers sworn in today. Two Ministers of State - both women- were sworn in at the ceremony attended among others by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi.
The ceremony was held at the Raj Bhavan here and the oath was administered by Governor V P Singh Badnore. Besides Sidhu those sworn in were Braham Mohindra, Manpreet Singh Badal, nephew of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Sadhu Singh Dharamkot, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Rana Gurjit Singh Sodhi and Charanjit Singh Chann.
Two women MLAs Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultana were sworn in as Ministers of State (Independent Charge). Congress sources said that an expansion of the state cabinet would take place at a later date.
The state can have a maximum of 18 ministers including the Chief Minister. The Congress has 77 MLAs in the assembly. Amarinder had announced that the oath taking ceremony would be a simple affair in view of the financial crisis facing the stage.
This will be Amarinder's second stint as chief minister. A galaxy of senior Congress leaders led by the party Vice President attended the ceremony including Anand Sharma, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Ajay Maken, Sachin Pilot, Partap Singh Bajwa. Amarinder's wife former Union Minister Preneet Kaur and his family members were also present.
Congress under the leadership of Amarinder had won 77 seats in the 117 member Assembly elections wresting power from the SAD-BJP alliance which was relegated to the third spot with 18 seats. New entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 20 seats and two seats went to its ally Lok Insaaf Party.