AAP leader Bhagwant Mann (left) being sworn in as the 17th Chief Minister of Punjab by Governor Banwarilal Purohit at a ceremony at  Khatkar Kalan, on March 16, 2022. (Wasim Sarvar/IANS)

AAP leader Bhagwant Mann (left) being sworn in as the 17th Chief Minister of Punjab by Governor Banwarilal Purohit at a ceremony at Khatkar Kalan, on March 16, 2022. (Wasim Sarvar/IANS)

Amid wave of 'basanti', Mann takes oath as Punjab CM, invokes 'Inquilab Zindabad'

Khatkar Kalan (Punjab), March 16, 2022

Amid a wave of "basanti" and chants of "Rang de Basanti", a revolutionary song, AAP leader Bhagwant Mann took oath of office as the 17th Chief Minister of Punjab on Wednesday in this village of legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.

As tens of thousands of people watched, Mann, wearing his traditional "basanti" turban, took oath in Hindi and ended it with the slogan "Inquilab Zindabad" or "Long live the revolution".

Mann, a former comedian, 48, has succeeded Congress leader Charanjit Channi as the Chief Minister. He is Punjab's youngest Chief Minister in nearly four decades.

He resigned as the Lok Sabha member from Sangrur on Tuesday. He was the lone AAP MP from the state.

Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered the oaths of office and secrecy to Mann.

After the oath-taking ceremony, which was delayed by an hour, Mann said in his address that, along with him, all the residents of the state also took oath as Chief Ministers. "You all will be the Chief Ministers," he said.

He said the work would start today itself. "We are already very late. We are late by 70 years. People from all over India come to Delhi to see schools and 'mohalla' clinics, foreigners would come to Punjab and click photos," he said.

Paying tributes to Bhagat Singh, who laid down his life for the country's independence, Mann said, "Bhagat Singh was not just concerned about India getting its freedom but also about the hands the country will go into once it is free. His concerns were valid. We are going abroad to those from whom we took our freedom. We will stay in our country and work for its betterment," he said.

Marking a compassionate appeal to the people, he said solutions to all problems -- from unemployment to farming to business to schools -- would be found.

Reciting a verse by Bhagat Singh, Mann said, "It is everyone's birthright to love, why not make the soil of my nation my lover?"

Cutting across party lines, Mann said, "It will take many lives to pay back the love we have got from you. We are also the government for those who didn't vote for us and we will work for them, too."

Before concluding his 15-minute speech, Mann said, "Hukumat vo karte hain jinka dilon par raj hota hai, yu kehne ko murge ke sar pe bhi taaj hota hai (The ones who rule are those who rule hearts, crowns even rest on rooster's head)."

The newly elected legislators will be administered oath during the one-day Vidhan Sabha session to be held in the state capital on Thursday.

Mann's cabinet will take oath on Saturday at the Raj Bhavan in Chandigarh.

Harpal Cheema, Aman Arora, Baljinder Kaur, Meet Hayer, Sarvjeet Kaur Manuke and Budh Ram, all second-time legislators, are likely to find a place in Mann's cabinet.

At the oath-taking venue, three podiums were set up on the stage. While the Governor and Mann were on the central podium, the second was occupied by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwalm, the head of AAP, and his cabinet, and the third by AAP's 91 legislators.

"The golden ray of sun has brought a new dawn on Wednesday," said Mann, who arrived at the venue about 45 minutes behind schedule, ahead of taking oath.

In a tweet, Mann said, "The golden ray of sun has brought a new dawn today. To realize the dreams of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Baba Saheb, the whole of Punjab will take oath today at Khatkar Kalan."

IANS

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