Senior parliamentarian and former Governor of Uttarakhand Margaret Alva took the oath as Governor of Rajasthan here on Saturday. The brief, solemn function at Raj Bhavan was attended by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, his Cabinet colleagues, two Union Ministers, senior leaders from the ruling Congress and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, bureaucrats and other dignitaries while rain, unusual for this time in the State, lashed the wooded environs of Civil Lines in the evening.
Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Arun Kumar Mishra administered the oath to the new Governor after Chief Secretary C. K. Mathew read out the order of President Pratibha Patil on her appointment. Ms. Alva took the oath in Hindi.
A large number of persons from her home State Karnataka, besides her husband Niranjan Alva, their three sons and daughter were present. The previous day, the Governor-designate made history of sorts arriving by train from Dehra Dun.
Union Ministers of State Sachin Pilot and Mahadeo Singh Kandela along with State Ministers Bina Kak, Rajendra Pareek, Harijiram Burdak, I. Ahmed and Ashok Bairwa attended the ceremony. Pradesh Congress Committee president Chandra Bhan, senior BJP leaders Ghanshyam Tiwari and Ramdas Agarwal and State president of the BJP, Arun Chaturvedi, were present. There was a small congregation of Christian clerics and nuns at the venue with Catholic Bishop of Jaipur Diocese Oswald Lewis leading the group.
The Mangalore-born Ms. Alva is the third woman Governor of Rajasthan. While her predecessor Prabha Rau died in harness two years ago, the other lady Governor of the State in the past, Ms. Pratibha Patil, is the President now. After the passing of Ms. Rau in 2010, Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil had been looking after Rajasthan additionally.
“Rain is a good omen. I brought rain to Rajasthan!” said a smiling Ms. Alva talking briefly to media persons after the ceremony. “I am immensely happy about being the Governor of Rajasthan. I want to serve the common man here in whichever way possible,” said Ms. Alva, who claims to possess a reasonably good understanding of the State.
Asked about her train journey, she quipped, “I like trains!”
Soon after the oath, she went round accepting greetings of the people and there was a big rush from women to take pictures with her as Rajasthan Minister for Tourism Bina Kak escorted her around. “Mother's Day is coming,” someone was heard saying while the children were lined up to pose with the new Governor.
“I have travelled in Rajasthan as a Union Minister in the past. I was engrossed with the special problems here as Minister for Women & Child Development,” Ms. Alva said. “I understand the problems of women and children. I will try my maximum to help,” she promised. Ms. Alva's Rajasthan connection is also through her daughter-in-law who is from this State. “My eldest daughter-in-law is from Rajasthan. I am really happy to be here,” she said.