Chandigarh: Manohar Lal Khattar, mentored by RSS and known for his organisational skills and clean image, on Sunday took oath as Haryana Chief Minister, leading the first BJP government in the state since it was created 48 years ago.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with whom 60-year-old Khattar shares proximity, BJP President Amit Shah, Union Ministers, veteran leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi and Chief Ministers of four BJP ruled states were present as the ten-member ministry was sworn in at a ceremony here by Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki.
A first time MLA, Khattar, who has a four-decade-long association with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and BJP, is the first Punjabi to become the Chief Minister of the state.
Khattar is also the fifth non-Jat Chief Minister of the state and the first in last 18 years.
Six cabinet ministers, including a woman MLA Kavita Jain (Sonipat), and three Ministers of State (Independent Charge) were also sworn in at the event attended by a large number of people.
The five other Cabinet ministers sworn in are Haryana BJP President Ram Bilas Sharma (MLA from Mahendargarh), Abhimanyu (Narnaund), Om Parkash Dhankar (Badli), Anil Vij (Ambala Cantt) and Narbir Singh (Badshahpur).
Three Ministers of State (Independent Charge) - Vikram Singh Thekedar (Kosli), Krishan Kumar Bedi (Shahabad SC) and Karan Dev Kamboj (Indri) - were also sworn in.
A number of Union Ministers including Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Harsh Vardhan, Maneka Gandhi, V K Singh, Ram Bilas Paswan, Ananth Kumar, Venkaiah Naidu, Krishan Pal Gujjar were present at the ceremony held at the Sector 5 HUDA Ground.
Opposition INLD was represented by Abhay Chautala. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal whose party SAD had opposed the BJP and backed INLD during the assembly elections in Haryana despite being an NDA constituent also attended the ceremony.
In a departure from the past, the venue for the oath-taking function was kept at Panchkula, which earlier used to be Chandigarh, the common capital of both Haryana and Punjab. Also, this is the first time that a chief minister was being sworn-in at a public ceremony instead of the event being held at the Haryana Raj Bhavan
Massive arrangements were made at the Sector 5 HUDA ground in Panchkula for the swearing-in ceremony. Tight security measures had been put in place, with over 3,000 cops being deployed.
Khattar contested and won his first election from the Karnal Assembly seat. He was chosen as leader of the BJP legislative party on Tuesday.
BJP created history by coming to power on its own for the first time in Haryana, since its inception in 1966.
In the 90-member Haryana Assembly, BJP bagged 47 seats, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) won 19 seats and its ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) got 1, Congress won 15 seats, Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC BL) won 2 seats, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) managed 1 seat and five seats went to independent candidates.
With Agency inputs