Shimla, December 27 (IANS): Jai Ram Thakur on Wednesday was sworn in as the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister at a ceremony here attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, among others.
Governor Acharya Devvrat administered the oath of office and secrecy to Thakur, who will turn 53 on January 6. This will be his maiden term as Chief Minister.
The swearing-in ceremony at the historic Ridge saw the presence of Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, J.P. Nadda and Nitin Gadkari, besides the Chief Ministers of various BJP-ruled states in attendance, along with more than 30,000 party supporters from across the state, mostly dressed in traditional attire.
BJP veteran L.K. Advani was also present. Five-time legislator Thakur, who rose through the ranks and is known for his humble, clean and low-profile nature, took the oath in Hindi.
During the oath taking ceremony he did not wear the trademark maroon flap cap of the BJP, which the former two-time Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal usually wore. Dhumal was defeated in this election.
Thakur’s family members, including his 80-year-old widowed mother, who belongs to a remote village in Mandi district, attended the ceremony.
“This is the victory of the common man,” Thakur’s wife Sadhna Thakur, who is doctor by profession, said before the oath taking ceremony.
The 12-member cabinet, comprising Thakur, has six former ministers and equal number of first-time ministers, a blend of experienced and new faces.
The others who took oath were former Cabinet Ministers Mohinder Singh, Kishan Kapoor, Sarveen Chaudhary and Anil Sharma, former Minister Ram Lal Markanday and new faces Suresh Bhardwaj, Vipin Singh Parmar, Virender Kanwar, Vikram Thakur, Gobind Thakur and Rajeev Sahjal.
Sarveen Chaudhary is the lone woman minister in the cabinet.
All the Ministers took the oath in Hindi, except Bhardwaj and Gobind Thakur, who took the oath in Sanskrit.
Senior legislators and former Cabinet Minister Rajeev Bindal, Narender Bragta and Ramesh Dhawala did not find place in the cabinet.
The BJP last week won a majority with 44 seats in the 68-member state assembly.
Outgoing Congress Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his erstwhile cabinet colleagues were conspicuously absent from the ceremony.