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Wednesday, 27 February, 2002, 13:03 GMT
New Punjab leader takes charge
Captain Amarinder Singh with supporters
Captain Singh led a resurgent Congress party to victory
The leader of the Congress party in the northern Indian state of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, has been sworn in as the new chief minister.

In a ceremony at the governor's house Captain Singh took the oath of office and secrecy in the Punjabi language.

He told reporters that he would appoint the other ministers in a few days after discussions with the Congress party headquarters in Delhi.

Congress party supporters celebrating victory
Corruption was hotly debated during the campaign

His appointment as chief minister ends five years of government in Punjab by a coalition of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP.

Earlier Captain Amarinder Singh, who is 59, was unanimously chosen by the party's newly-elected legislators.

The Congress party has won a clear majority in the state in the elections held this month.

It wrested control of this wealthy state from the alliance of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Royal roots

Captain Singh is the scion of the erstwhile princely state of Patiala.

A commissioned officer in the Indian army, he resigned to join politics.

His election as the leader of the Congress party in the state assembly was widely expected.

Captain Singh's election as the chief minister was endorsed by the Congress party chief, Sonia Gandhi.

A BBC correspondent in Punjab says he is considered to be a man with progressive approach.

The new chief minister is expected to focus on agricultural diversification and modernisation of infrastructure.

He is also expected to push through fresh investments in the industrial and agro-industrial sectors.

See also:

13 Feb 02 | South Asia
Punjab at the polls
12 Feb 02 | South Asia
Tight contest in Punjab poll
14 Feb 02 | South Asia
In pictures: India's state polls
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