Panchkula (Haryana): Manohar Lal Khattar was Sunday sworn in as chief minister of Haryana, heading the state’s first BJP government, with a galaxy of leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the ceremony along with thousands of cheering supporters.
The 60-year-old Khattar, who once aspired to be a doctor but ended up setting up a shop in Delhi's Sadar Bazar area, took the oath of office and secrecy in Hindi.
Chief Minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar
Khattar has never held any public office and has no administrative experience.
Nine ministers, including six of cabinet rank and three ministers of state, including one with independent charge, were also sworn in. The 10-member ministry has one woman, Kavita Jain.
Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki administered the oath of office and secrecy to Khattar and ministers at a public ceremony at the Mela Ground in Sector 5 of Panchkula town, adjoining Chandigarh.
Khattar is the 10th chief minister of Haryana, which was created Nov 1, 1966.
Modi seemed to have departed from protocol to attend the swearing-in of Khattar, who had worked with him when he was in charge of BJP's affairs in Punjab and Haryana in the '90s.
Senior BJP leaders like L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi also attended the ceremony.
Six cabinet ministers who were sworn in on the occasion were Ram Bilas Sharma, Abhimanyu, O.P. Dhankad, Anil Vij, Narvir Singh and Kavita Jain.
The ministers of state to take oath were Vikram Singh Thekedar (independent charge), Krishan Kumar Bedi and Karan Dev Kamboj.
Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah and general secretary J.P. Nadda were also present. So were chief ministers of BJP-ruled states: Shivraj Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), Anandiben Patel (Gujarat), Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan) and Manohar Parrikar (Goa) as well as Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Leaders of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), where Khattar was once a ‘pracharak’, came for the event. Also gracing the occasion was Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil.
Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Abhay Chautala too was there. The INLD is the main opposition in the state assembly now.
Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who ruled Haryana from March 2005 to October 2014, did not attend. He said he had not got any invite for the event -- a claim promptly denied by the Haryana government.
The BJP created political history by winning 47 of the 90 seats in the Haryana assembly. It is the first time the BJP will rule the state on its own -- after having remained a fringe player there for long.