PUNJAB – AAP leader Bhagwant Mann was sworn in as the Punjab chief minister on Wednesday.
Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mann in the swearing-in ceremony that took place at Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh in Punjab’s Shaheed Bhagat Singh (SBS) Nagar district.
Only Mann took the oath during the ceremony.
The event was supposed to start at 12.30 pm but got delayed and was held at around 1.25 pm.
Besides the newly-elected AAP MLAs, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, Delhi minister Satyendar Jain, and other leaders wearing yellow turbans were also present.
AAP’s Punjab affairs in-charge Jarnail Singh and co-incharge Raghav Chadha also attended the event.
The 48-year-old Mann, who took the oath in Punjabi, also delivered a brief address after the ceremony.
In his first speech after becoming the chief minister, Mann assured the people of the state that his party’s government in Punjab will work to address issues like unemployment, corruption and farmers’ plight.
The work will start from today itself. We will not waste even a single day. We are already late by 70 years, he said.
He promised that the condition of government schools and hospitals in the state will be improved like it has been done by the AAP government in Delhi.
Like people from abroad come to see the improved schools and hospitals in Delhi, they will also come to Punjab, he said.
He also touched upon the issue of youth of Punjab migrating to other countries for greener pastures.
Thanking people for attending the oath-taking ceremony in large numbers, Mann said earlier, the swearing-in ceremonies used to take place at cricket stadiums or Raj Bhawans.
“Now this oath-taking ceremony is held at the village of a martyr, he said, adding that Khatkar Kalan was not new for him as he had visited it many times.
Bhagat Singh had dreamt of freedom and the AAP is fighting to take that freedom to the common people, he said.
However, Bhagat Singh was concerned about who would take over the reins of the country once it got free.
His (Bhagat Singh) concern proved to be right, said Mann, adding that those who ruled the country for 70 years did nothing.
“To love is the birthright of everyone, why not make your country your beloved,” Mann said quoting Bhagat Singh as he asked the people to “love the country’s soil”.
Thanking people for the huge mandate given to the AAP, Mann said, We are amongst you and we will remain like this.
He said the people of Punjab have created history.
“In the coming years, it will be taught in schools that people voted without any fear or greed on February 20, 2022 (Punjab election), said Mann on the huge mandate given to the AAP.
He specially thanked Kejriwal, saying the AAP is improving the country’s politics.
He also advised AAP volunteers not to be arrogant or use objectionable language against anyone.
Mann said his government will also work for those who did not vote for the AAP.
Meanwhile, a number of singers and artists, including Gurdas Mann, Karamjit Anmol, singer-turned-politician and Congress MP Mohammad Sadique, and Amar Noorie, were present at the event.
Elaborate arrangements were made for the ceremony which was attended by AAP supporters from various parts of the state. The men were wearing yellow turbans while women draped a yellow ‘dupatta’.
Mann had invited the people of the state to attend his swearing-in ceremony, saying the three crore people of Punjab will also take oath with him.
The atmosphere was surcharged with enthusiasm and patriotic fervour as the people raised slogans of ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ (long live revolution) and ‘Bole So Nihaal’.
Tight security arrangements were made for the event.
A supporter, who came from Mann’s Satoj village in Sangrur said, We have high expectations from him and he will definitely live up to them. The way Kejriwal did good work in Delhi, Mann will also do the same in Punjab.”
When Mann was leaving for Khatkar Kalan from Mohali earlier in the day, a few of his supporters showered flower petals on his vehicle and congratulated him.
“I am very happy that my brother (Mann) is going to be the CM. We are very happy about it, said a woman supporter in Mohali.
The AAP romped home winning 92 seats in the 117-member Punjab Assembly, decimating the Congress and the SAD-BSP combine.