Karnal MLA Manohar Lal Khattar, 60, took oath as BJP’s first-ever chief minister in Haryana in a grand ceremony on Saturday. Six MLAs were sworn-in as Cabinet ministers, while three were administered oath as Ministers of State with independent charge. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top party leaders, including L K Advani, Amit Shah, Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu, attended the ceremony, which was held in Panchkula.
Several RSS leaders as well as chief ministers of BJP-ruled states — Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and Goa CM Manohar Parrikar — also attended the event.
Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki administered the oath to the CM and the Cabinet ministers. Those inducted into Khattar’s Cabinet include Rambilas Sharma (MLA from Mahendergarh), Capt. Abhimanyu (Narnaund), Anil Vij (Ambala-Cantonment), O P Dhankar (Badli), Kavita Jain (Sonepat) and Rao Narbir Singh (Badshahpur).
Soon after taking oath, Sharma told mediapersons that the state government would order a probe into the alleged land scams that took place during the previous government in Haryana. “We shall get a sitting high court judge to probe the land scams that took place in Haryana,” he said.
The Ministers of State who were sworn in are Bikram Singh Thekedar (Kosli), Krishan Kumar (Shahbad) and Karan Dev Kamboj (Indri).
Before the ceremony began, the state government arranged for an SUV for each Cabinet minister.
A separate stage was created to accommodate the remaining BJP MLAs, and various religious and RSS leaders. An unprecedented security cover comprising more than 3,000 policemen was put in place at the venue.
Vij said that “working for the welfare of the people and ensuring inclusive development” would be the government’s top priority.
In the newly inducted Cabinet, all members except Sharma and Rao Narbir Singh are first-time ministers.
Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda did not attend the ceremony and claimed that he was not invited. “If I was invited, I would have thought about attending the event. But no invitation reached me,” Hooda said. However, the state government maintained that Hooda had been invited to the event.
The first meeting of the new Cabinet will be held under the chairmanship of Khattar in Haryana Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh at 11 am on Monday.
After taking oath, the CM and his Cabinet went to the Haryana Civil Secretariat and held a meeting with administrative secretaries of the state government.
During the meeting, Khattar said that the welfare of the people should be the ultimate aim for each of them. “Apart from politicians, bureaucrats also share equal responsibility to run the government. All officers should perform their duties with utmost dedication in the interest of people,” he said.
Earlier, while welcoming the CM, Chief Secretary Shakuntala Jakhu said, “The state has a competent team of officers who would work to realise the PM’s motto, ‘minimum government, maximum governance’.”