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 in Chandigarh on Thursday morning in a simple ceremony, which party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi is also expected to attend.
Singh, who turned 75 on March 11, 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.
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 V P Singh Badnore at the Raj Bhawan.
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 V P Singh Badnore will administer the oath of office to Amarinder Singh as the new chief minister of the state,” Punjab Congress had said yesterday.
Singh had also met Rahul Gandhi yesterday and extended an invitation to him. He has urged all the newly elected MLAs to also keep their personal invitations to the bare minimum.
Singh has made it clear that in the light of the state’s fiscal situation, he did not want any unnecessary or wasteful expenditure to be incurred on the swearing-in ceremony.
The oath-taking ceremony of CM is traditionally held at the Raj Bhawan, the outgoing Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had chosen different venues for taking oath as CM in 2007 and 2012 when SAD-BJP formed the government.
The swearing-in ceremony of Badal, who was sworn-in as the CM for the fourth time in 2007, had taken place at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium at Mohali. In 2012, the ceremony was held at historic Chapar Chiri Banda Bahadur Memorial, about 25 km from here.
This is the second time that Singh would be taking the oath as chief minister having served in that capacity in 2002-2007.