Punjab: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Bhagwant Mann took oath as Punjab’s 17th Chief Minister in a ceremony held at Khatkar Kalan, the birthplace of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, on Wednesday, March 16. The 48-year-old comedian-turned-politician has become the first non-Congress and non-Akali leader to make it to the chief minister’s office in the border state since 1966, when its map was last redrawn.
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, will be present for the swearing in ceremony of Mr Mann, whom he calls “his younger brother”.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) registered a landslide victory in the Punjab polls with 92 seats, pushing most of its rivals to the margins. Congress had won 18 seats in the 117-member Assembly.
Bhagwant Mann in a tweet in Punjabi said, “The golden rays of sun have brought a new dawn today. To fulfil the dreams of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Babasaheb (B R Ambedkar), entire Punjab will take oath today at Khatkar Kalan.”
ਸੂਰਜ ਦੀ ਸੁਨਿਹਰੀ ਕਿਰਨ ਅੱਜ ਇੱਕ ਨਵੀਂ ਸਵੇਰ ਲੈ ਕੇ ਆਈ ਹੈ। ਅੱਜ ਪੂਰਾ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਖਟਕੜ ਕਲਾਂ ਵਿਖੇ ਸ਼ਹੀਦ ਭਗਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਅਤੇ ਬਾਬਾ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ ਦੇ ਸੁਪਨਿਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਸਾਕਾਰ ਕਰਨ ਦੀ ਸਹੁੰ ਚੁੱਕੇਗਾ।
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ਸ਼ਹੀਦ ਭਗਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ ਦੀ ਸੋਚ 'ਤੇ ਪਹਿਰਾ ਦੇਣ ਲਈ ਉਹਨਾਂ ਦੇ ਜੱਦੀ ਪਿੰਡ ਖਟਕੜ ਕਲਾਂ ਲਈ ਰਵਾਨਾ ਹੋ ਰਿਹਾ ਹਾਂ।
— Bhagwant Mann (@BhagwantMann) March 16, 2022
Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav wished AAP’s Bhagwant Mann ahead of the oath-taking ceremony. Wishing the new government a successful tenure, Stalin said that Tamil Nadu and Punjab share a long history of being vocal about linguistic rights and rights of the state in the Indian Union.
“On March 16, in Bhagat Singh’s Khatkar Kalan, not just Bhagwant Mann will take the oath and become CM, but along with me all three crore people of Punjab will also become CM. Together we will make Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s Rangla Punjab,” Mr Mann said in a video message.
AAP leader Raghav Chaddha was among the first to share a photo wearing a yellow turban.
Today marks an important day in the history of Punjab as 3 crore Punjabis will together be sworn in as Chief Minister along with @BhagwantMann. Oath to change this corrupt system & to fulfill dreams of Shaheed-E-Azam Bhagat Singh & Babasaheb Ambedkar
Ajj ton har Punjabi CM houga pic.twitter.com/lCPA2gUCJ2
— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) March 16, 2022
Foolproof security arrangements have been made for the ceremony and several senior officials, including inspector general and senior superintendents of police, have been deputed for the event. Around 8,000 to 10,000 security personnel have been deployed for the event, said the officials.
Born in Satoj village of Sangrur district in 1973, Mann was a comedian and an actor before jumping into politics. He shot to prominence for the first time due to his sense of humour in 2008 when he competed in the Great Indian Laughter Challenge on Star Plus. He has also acted in National Award-winning Film ‘Main Maa Punjab Dee’ directed by Balwant Dullat.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led party scripted history by becoming the first regional party to win two states, Delhi, and now Punjab.
In the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, when the Congress won a majority by bagging 77 seats and ousted the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party government after 10 years, the AAP emerged the second-largest party winning 20 seats in the 117-member Assembly. SAD could only manage to win 15 seats while the BJP bagged three seats.
Mann was tipped to be AAP’s CM face in 2017 as well but the party didn’t announce the name. Many say the decision cost AAP the elections.