Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday was sworn in Haryana Chief Minister for a second consecutive term. Governor Jagannath Pahadia asked him to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly on or before October 31. Mr. Hooda took the oath of office and secrecy in Hindi.
Congress observers Prithviraj Chavan, B.K. Hariprasad and Mohsina Kidwai attended the ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan here, along with MPs, MLAs and former MLAs. However, Union Minister Kumari Selja, who was in the race for Chief Ministership, was absent.
In the Assembly elections, the Congress won 40 out of the 90 seats, six short of a simple majority.
The party claimed that it enjoyed the support of the seven Independents and Bahujan Samaj Party legislator Akram Khan.
Mr. Hooda’s mother Hardai Devi, his wife Asha Hooda and son Deepender Hooda, a sitting MP from Rohtak, were present, so did Haryana Congress unit chief Phool Chand Mullana.
Mr. Hooda, who won from the traditional Garhi Sampla-Kiloi seat by a margin of 72,100 votes, later told journalists that he would induct Ministers after proving the majority.
On the status of the Haryana Janhit Congress of the Bhajan Lal clan, which had six MLAs, Mr. Hooda said its members were part of the Congress family but somehow they had “parted company.” “Now if they give unconditional support, the Congress would welcome them.”
In a related development, HJC supremo and MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi told the media that his party had decided to extend ‘unconditional support’ to the Congress in the “interest of the people of Haryana.”
“Our only expectation is that the promises made in the HJC manifesto should be implemented,” he asserted. He made it clear that he was not angling for any post in the Hooda government.
Mr. Hooda thanked Congress president Sonia Gandhi for reposing faith in him and said he would try to live up to her expectations.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Hooda told journalists in New Delhi that the election verdict was not up to the expectations and the reasons for this were being analysed.