Top Congress leaders, including party Vice President Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, are expected to attend the swearing-in of Amarinder Singh as Punjab Chief Minister here on Thursday.
With Z-plus security protectees likely to arrive here on Thursday morning, security in and around Punjab Raj Bhavan, Chandigarh airport and other places has been tightened.
Amarinder will be sworn in along with nine Cabinet Ministers at Raj Bhavan at 10 a.m. by Governor V.P. Singh Badnore.
Former Union Ministers Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Ashwani Kumar and Rajeev Shukla, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Congress Secretary in charge of Punjab affairs Asha Kumari are expected to attend the event.
Amarinder Singh has opted for a simple swearing-in ceremony in view of state’s financial health.
“We do not want to celebrate when the people of Punjab are suffering due to severe financial and other problems,” he said, adding there will be time enough to celebrate once his government has brought the state back on the path of growth and development.
Those likely to be inducted as ministers include cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, industrialist Rana Gurjit Singh and former Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal.
Other names are Dalit leader Charanjit Singh Channi and Razia Sultana from the Muslim community and Aruna Chaudhary, apart from Amarinder’s loyalists and senior leaders Brahm Mohindra and Rakesh Pandey.
The Congress, which swept the elections with 77 seats in the 117-member assembly, on Sunday formally elected Amarinder Singh as Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader. Amarinder later met the Governor and staked claim to form the next government.
It is the second time Amarinder will become the Chief Minister after his previous 2002-2007 stint.
The low-key swearing-in opted for by Amarinder, who comes from the erstwhile royal family of Patiala, is in sharp contrast to crores of rupees spent by his predecessor Parkash Singh Badal for similar events in 2007 and 2012.
The Punjab government is believed to be under a massive debt of over Rs 200,000 crore, as per Congress claims during campaigning.
Amarinder has requested all newly-elected MLAs to also keep their personal invitations to the bare minimum to keep the ceremony simple.