Friday, March 3, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Chautala heads 11-member govt
From K.G. Dutt
Tribune News Service

KURUKSHETRA, March 2 — The Haryana Governor, Mr Mahabir Prasad, here today administered the oath of office and secrecy to an 11-member ministry headed by Mr Om Prakash Chautala, comprising five Cabinet Ministers and five Ministers of State.

The Governor administered the oath at a glittering but solemn ceremony at Dronacharya Stadium here.

Thousands from all over Haryana attended the ceremony which was held for the first time in the history of the state at an open darbar at a district headquarters.

The Governor along with Mr Chautala reached the venue at 12.07 p.m. where the national anthem was recited.

Mr Chautala took the oath in Sanskrit at 12.10 p.m, in the land of the Mahabharata. It took the Chief Minister over three minutes to complete his oath, after which he touched the feet of his father, Mr Devi Lal, seated next to the Governor.

After the Chief Minister, Mr Sampat Singh took the oath in Hindi. He was followed by Mr Dhirpal Singh, Mr Ashok Kumar, Mr Kartar Singh Bhadana and Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu. Mr Sandhu took the oath in Punjabi. The Governor was seen speaking in chaste Punjabi for the first time while administering the oath of office. Mr Bhadana, who took the oath in Hindi, faltered a tittle.

Mr Dhirpal Singh, Mr Ashok Kumar and Mr Sampat Singh touched the feet of Mr Devi Lal and sought his blessings after the ceremony.

The five Ministers of State who were administered the oath were Dr M.L. Ranga, Mr Mohammad Ilyas, Mr Subhash Chander Goyal, Mr Bahadur Singh and Mr Rishal Singh.

The first to take oath among them was Dr Ranga, former Vice-Chancellor of Kurukshetra University. He finished the oath with “Jai Haryana”, “Jai Kurukshetra”. But the Governor cautioned him that such words were not spoken at such occasions.

The 11-member Cabinet represents the districts of Kurukshetra, Panipat, Hisar, Ambala, Rohtak, Fatehabad, Gurgaon, Rewari and Sirsa. Mr Chautala represents both Jind and Sirsa.

Two of the Ministers, Mr Ashok Kumar and Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, belong to Kurukshetra. Mr Dhirpal Singh represents Rohtak, Mr Kartar Singh Bhadana Panipat and Mr Sampat Singh Fatehabad. Among the Ministers of State, Dr Ranga represents Rewari, Mr Mohammad Ilyas Gurgaon, Mr Subhash Chander Goyal Hisar and Mr Rishal Singh Ambala.

It was for the fifth time that Mr Chautala took the oath of office as Chief Minister. Starting his political career in 1970 when he was elected to the Vidhan Sabha, Mr Chautala was first installed as Chief Minister on December 2, 1989. He became the Chief Minister for the second time on July 12, 1990, again on March 24, 1991, and for the fourth time, on July 24, 1999.

A galaxy of personalities from all over the country attended the ceremony. The Chief Ministers who were present were Dr Farooq Abdullah and Mr Prakash Singh Badal. The Union Ministers representing different parties were Mr P.R. Kumaramangalam, Mr T.R. Balu, Mr Ram Jethmalani, Mr I.D. Swami, Mr Subhash Mehria and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.

Mr Chandra Babu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, had sent Mr A.P.Veeran Naidu as his representative, while Mr T.R. Balu represented the D.M.K. Chief Minister, Mr M.Karunanidhi. Mr Neeraj Shekhar, son of former Prime Minister, Mr Chander Shekhar, represented his father.

Mr Tirlochan Singh Chairman of the Minorities Commission, was also present. Mrs Maneka Gandhi could not make it.

The BJP Vice-President, Mr M.L. Khurana, Mr O.P. Grover, President, Haryana BJP, Mr Ram Bilas Sharma, former Education Minister, Mr Rattan Lal Kataria, General Secretary of the BJP, Mr Sahib Singh Verma and Mr Ram Chander Bainda, MP, Faridabad, represented the BJP.

As the Tau appeared on the stage, he was given a standing ovation by the crowds which had gathered to witness the ceremony. The two sons of the Chief Minister, Mr Ajay Chautala and Mr Abhay Chautala, Mrs Shanti Devi, wife of the Chief Minister, Ms Suchitra, daughter of Mr Chautala, Ms Shanti Devi, sister of Mr Chautala, Ms Neena, wife of Mr Ajay Chautala, Ms Divya, great granddaughter of Mr Chautala, other relatives and elders from Chautala village were also seated on the stage. There were no portraits of any leader on the dais.

There was tight security in the town and entry points to the city were sealed. People had come to attend the ceremony, dancing to the beat of drums.

Commenting on the formation of the government in Haryana, Capt Inder Singh, M.P. from Rohtak, remarked: “The type of government the people wanted has now been formed in Haryana and it will fulfil the aspirations of the people”.Back

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