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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

All in yellow, Bhagat Singh village awaits ascension of Bhagwant Mann as CM

The ‘pandal’, with yellow drapes and 50,000 chairs, has been set up on 40 acres near the Bhagat Singh memorial in the village in Nawanshahr district. A government official said at least 4 lakh people, the expected turnout, can sit on the chairs and the ground.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
Updated: March 16, 2022 12:51:01 pm
At Khatkar Kalan, ahead of the swearing-in. (Express Photo)

Khatkar Kalan will be all yellow today. As Bhagwant Mann prepares to take oath as Punjab’s 18th Chief Minister at Bhagat Singh’s village, AAP has asked people to turn up in ‘basanti’ turbans and dupattas at a venue that prominently showcases this colour — one commonly associated with the freedom fighter.

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The ‘pandal’, with yellow drapes and 50,000 chairs, has been set up on 40 acres near the Bhagat Singh memorial in the village in Nawanshahr district. A government official said at least 4 lakh people, the expected turnout, can sit on the chairs and the ground.

AAP says “they will all take oath” as chief ministers along with Mann in a 10-minute ceremony.

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A 50-acre area, created after clearing wheat crops, will be used as a parking space for an expected 25,000 vehicles.

The incoming government has not invited any VVIP for the oath-taking ceremony, which has been given the theme of “Rang De Basanti”. This song was written by Pt Ram Prasad Bismil and his friends, but it is said that it was sung by the prisoners when Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the cabinet ministers of Delhi will be part of the event.

Mann, meanwhile, has released a video message asking people to turn up in yellow.

“Our VVIPs are people of the state. We have appealed to them to come in huge numbers. They are our guests,” said Harpal Cheema, AAP MLA and former Leader of Opposition.

“There is a shortage of yellow turbans and dupattas across the state,” said Cheema. “It is their ceremony. They wanted to witness Mann taking oath and hence we have organised it at Bhagat Singh’s native village.”

“Many residents from distant places have already started arriving. We are making arrangements for their overnight stay as well,” he said.

With roads expected to be clogged, Mann and Governor Banwarilal Purohit will use a chopper to reach the venue; a helipad has been set up for the purpose. Traffic will be diverted and a toll plaza en route has been asked to allow free movement.

Three podiums have been set up on the stage. While the governor and Mann will be on the central podium, the second will be occupied by the Delhi CM and his cabinet, and the third by AAP MLAs would be on the third podium.

Mann will be the only one taking the oath from the stage. He will be administered the oath of office and secrecy by Purohit at 12:10 pm. The ceremony will end at 12:20 pm, said a government official.

After the oath-taking, Mann will address the people of the state. Mann has said that along with him, all the residents of the state will also take oath as CMs. “You all will be the Chief Ministers,” Mann has stated in his video message to the people.

The Governor will leave after administering the oath. It has been decided that only Mann will address the public. Kejriwal may speak in case of a last-minute change, a functionary said.

A party functionary said that the oath-taking ceremony was not organised at Raj Bhawan to convey a message that it was a “people’s function”.

“Our volunteers have been saying they want to witness the ceremony. Mann was also promising them that they would be a part. That is why we have planned it to be a ceremony meant for everyone. It is not only for the privileged. Hence, arrangements are being made accordingly,” said this leader.

Mann will assume office in the evening and will be given a guard of honour.

The government is spending more than Rs 2 crore for the function. As many as 2,000 government-run buses have also been pressed into service to ferry participants. A public holiday has been declared in Punjab on Wednesday.

The MLAs will be administered oath during Vidhan Sabha session on Thursday.

Mann’s cabinet will take oath Saturday at the Punjab Raj Bhawan.

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