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Raje rung in out of Raj Bhavan

Jaipur, Dec. 8: Vasundhara Raje was today sworn in chief minister of Rajasthan under a shower of petals dropped from an aircraft at a function that was turned into a BJP rally.

Vasundhara, the first woman chief minister of the state, took the oath on a dais erected in front of the Vidhan Sabha on Jan Path — the new road connecting the secretariat and the Assembly.

This is the first time that the swearing-in has been held outside Raj Bhavan.

Vasundhara also made a mark by coming down from the dais to greet Ashok Gehlot when she heard of the outgoing chief minister’s arrival. This prompted state BJP vice-president Onkar Singh Lakhawat to comment: “It is the beauty of Indian democracy.”

Governor Kailashpati Mishra administered the oath to Vasundhara, a scion of the Scindia family of the former princely state of Gwalior, eight cabinet ministers and one minister of state, in the presence of several Union ministers and senior BJP leaders.

Four of the cabinet ministers and the minister of state are new faces. The cabinet ministers are Narpat Singh Rajvi, a state party general secretary and the son-in-law of Vice-President and former chief minister Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Kirori Lal Meena, Kanak Mal Katara and Mohammad Yunus Khan. Prabhu Lal Saini was sworn in minister of state.

The others who took oath today were members of the BJP ministry in Rajasthan headed by Shekhawat. They include leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly Gulab Chand Kataria, Ghanshyam Tiwari, Sanwar Lal Jat and Madan Dilawar.

The composition of the ministry indicates that the chief minister has tried to give representation to various sections of society, including Brahmins, Rajputs, Jats, Banias, Scheduled Castes, Other Backward Classes and minorities.

Party sources said the ministry was likely to be expanded soon.

In the presence of a 15,000-strong gathering, two priests put tilak on the foreheads of Union ministers Jaswant Singh, Rajnath Singh, Sahib Singh Verma, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Digvijay Singh, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and his Goa counterpart Manohar Pannikar, party general secretary Pramod Mahajan, treasurer Ram Das Agrawal and former Rajasthan governor Anshuman Singh, who shared the dais with Vasundhara.

Down on the road were former Congress chief ministers Shiv Charan Mathur and Jagannath Pahadia.

The chief minister called the day Vijay Divas to mark the BJP victory in the elections and said she would strive for a society free from fear, hunger and corruption. The central focus of her government would be the poor, she said.

Vasundhara called her party’s historic victory as the victory of the people of Rajasthan and party workers. “Aaj Vijay Divas hai, aur yeh meri nahi apki vijay hai (Today is Victory Day and the victory is yours, not mine),” she said to thunderous applause and the chanting of slogans.

BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu thanked the people, while Union minister Swami Chinmayanand chanted a Vedic rhyme and greeted Modi in Gujarati and called him the “Hindutva ka prateek (symbol of Hindus)”. Chinmayanand called it a historic day with the daughter of the late Rajmata of Gwalior Vijayaraje Scindia being sworn in to take Rajasthan forward.

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