Veteran BJP leader Kaptan Singh Solanki was sworn-in as the new Governor of Haryana on Sunday.
Acting Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Ashutosh Mohunta administered the oath of office and secrecy to 75-year-old Solanki at the premises of Raj Bhawan. Solanki, a BJP Rajya Sabha member and a RSS leader, took oath in Hindi. He has become the 16th Governor of the state since its formation after trifurcation of Punjab in 1966.
The former professor hails from Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh and was renominated to Rajya Sabha in August, 2012. Solanki’s predecessor Jagannath Pahadia’s five year term had ended on Saturday. Though Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was present, his cabinet colleagues chose to skip the oath-taking ceremony.
Haryana BJP chief Ram Bilas Sharma and party’s Ambala MP Rattan Lal Kataria were among the prominent saffron party leaders present on the occasion. Senior administration and police officers of Haryana and Union Territory of Chandigarh were also among the attendees.
After taking oath, in a brief interface with media, he parried questions on contentious Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Act promulgated by the state government recently.
Despite repeated queries on the issue, he refrained from commenting. He, however, said: “Today is a pious day as he took oath as Governor as per the directives of the President (Pranab Mukherjee).” The new Governor is expected to look into the legality of the issue of Haryana forming a separate Gurdwara Management Committee, which Punjab has strongly objected to.
Haryana and Punjab are at loggerheads over the issue of a separate SGPC by the former after the passing of a new law by the state Assembly which was accorded assent by former Governor Jagannath Pahadia. Commenting on his new assignment, Solanki said: “I am elated… I will ensure that Haryana’s progress contributes to the building of the nation in the 21st century.” “It’s a constitutional post…I have a role to play,” he said in an apparent reference to the Governor’s role on contentious matters and added that he would strive for the welfare of Haryana.
On Saturday in Delhi, on Haryana’s move to create a separate Gurdwara Management Committee, Solanki after becoming Governor designate Haryana had said that the Centre’s directive against it “must be obeyed”. Solanki said though his opinion was personal, he would look into all aspects before taking a decision on the Centre’s directive to annul the Act passed by the state Assembly.
Strongly objecting to Haryana’s act, Punjab has knocked on the doors of the Centre and sought its intervention, saying that a separate SGPC is in contravention of the Central Gurdwara Act of 1925.
Born in Bhind of Garhpara district, Solanki was born on July 1, 1939 and has a wife, three sons and two daughters. He was Rajya Sabha member from 2009 to 2012 and from 2012 till date in his second term. He had also worked as a social worker between 1998 to 2002. A staunch RSS worker, he has also served as Madhya Pradesh BJP General Secretary, party’s incharge of Maharashtra and party’s incharge of Rajasthan.