CHANDIGARH: Since March 10, Punjab has turned basanti (a shade of yellow) to herald change this spring.
Anecdotes have it that Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his associates sang ‘Mera rang de basanti chola’ composed by fellow revolutionary freedom fighter Ram Prasad Bismil in prison.
With the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seeking to appropriate Bhagat Singh and the colour associated with him, basanti is the flavour of the season when it comes to headgears, if not the cholas (long, lose attires).
So, yellow turbans are the new trend in the state and are being preferred by AAP leaders and supporters, right from the newly elected chief minister, Bhagwant Mann.
The colour is associated with inquilab (revolution), patriotism, new beginning and spring (basant literally means spring).
When the AAP had come to power in Delhi, all party workers and supporters donned the white Gandhi topi with the words Main Hoon Aam Aadmi.
On Wednesday, when Mann took oath as Punjab CM, yellow ruled the landscape at Khattar Kalan, the ancestral village of Bhagat Singh, where the swearing-in ceremony took place.
“The sale of basanti turbans has gone up as there’s tremendous craze for them. We have been selling around 50 turbans a day,” said a shopkeeper.
During the Congress rule, party leaders didn’t have a specific colour choice for their turbans, although former CMs Amarinder Singh and Charanjit Singh Channi generally preferred pink and red, respectively, while other leaders mostly wore white.
Political analyst Prof Jagrup Singh Sekhon said, “Political leaders are wearing turbans of different colours as there is a historic significance to that. SAD leaders earlier used to wear black turbans as their movement came out of protests. Later, they switched to dark blue. Congress leaders mostly use white, a colour associated with purity, while Communists wear red, the colour of revolution.”
New Punjab government straight gets into business on day one
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and newly elected MLAs were administered oath as members of the 16th Punjab Vidhan Sabha here on Thursday.
The first session of the state Assembly began on Thursday.
Protem Speaker Inderbir Singh Nijjar administered the oath to the newly elected legislators, most of them first-timers.
Mann, who was sworn-in as the Punjab chief minister on Wednesday at Khatkar Kalan, was the first one who was administered the oath by the Protem Speaker.
Mann ended his oath with the slogan "Inqlab Zindabad" (long live revolution).
After Mann, women MLAs were administered the oath.
Some of the MLAs, including Aman Arora, bowed before entering the House.
Several MLAs came with their family members for the ceremony.
A few MLAs, including Congress legislator Sandeep Jakhar, took oath in Hindi.
AAP MLA from Malerkotla, Mohammad Jamil Ur Rahman, took oath in Urdu.
Nabha MLA Gurdev Singh Dev Mann reached the Punjab Assembly on a bicycle.
Among Congress MLAs who were administered the oath were Sukhjinder Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Bajwa and Partap Singh Bajwa.
Five legislators, including Congress MLA Rana Gurjeet Singh, his son and Independent MLA Rana Inder Partap Singh, and SAD MLA Ganieve Kaur were not present in the House for oath taking.
AAP had stormed to power, winning 92 of the 117 Assembly seats in the elections held recently.
Talking to reporters, several AAP MLAs said they will fulfil all promises made to people of the state.
Moga AAP MLA Dr Amandeep Kaur Arora said,"We will have to start from zero as the entire system has to be changed. We will do all work. Whatever guarantees have been promised will be fulfilled. Punjab will be shown as a model state," said Arora, who defeated Congress candidate Malvika Sood Sachar from Moga.
AAP's senior leader and two-time MLA Harpal Cheema said that all pre-poll promises made by his party will be honoured.
Kharar legislator Anmol Gagan Mann said, "Now, it is our responsibility to live up to the expectations of people and for this, we will work day and night. It will be our first priority to make the state corruption and drugs-free."
AAP MLA Labh Singh Ugoke, who defeated former chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi from Bhadaur seat, said his priority will be to improve health facilities in his constituency.
Ugoke said he would like that agriculture-based industry is promoted in Punjab.
AAP MLA from Amritsar East seat Jeevnjyot Kaur said she was confident that she would win the elections.
People had seen the Kejriwal model of governance in Delhi and they were aware of the work done in the national capital, she added.
Kaur defeated Congress party's Navjot Sidhu and Shiromani Akali Dal candidate Bikram Singh Majithia from the Amritsar East seat.
She said Sidhu and Majithia had nothing to talk about public issues and development.
Mann on Thursday warned that corrupt bureaucrats would get no sympathy under his government, but also assured police and administration officials that there shall be no vendetta or political pressure on them.
Addressing senior officials for the first time after assuming charge as the chief minister, Mann urged them to discharge their duties as public servants in letter and spirit, respecting the massive mandate received by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the assembly polls.
According to an official release, the chief minister said his government will not indulge in political vendetta and asked the entire state administration to discharge their duties fearlessly without any political pressure, unlike the earlier regimes.
He further said, "I do not keep red diary like the earlier political regimes and have only a green one so you need not worry about any vendetta."
Without mincing words, Mann said corrupt officers have no place in his government.
"Corrupt officers have no place in my government and if any such complaint comes to my notice, then do not expect any sympathy for such officers," he said.
The AAP leader also announced to reward both civil and police officers with 'Best Performance Award' quarterly for making the difference in the lives of common man at the grassroots level besides ensuring free and fair justice to one and all, to boost their morale.
He hoped the initiative will motivate officers to perform far better and efficiently.
"The people who have given us an opportunity to serve the state are the real rulers in the democracy. They have the power to allow the leaders to rule or show them the door," he added.
The chief minister asserted that the prime concern for the AAP government should be to make the state "real Punjab", not London, California or Paris.
He also appreciated the enormous capabilities and capacities of both civil and police officers.
Mann also directed the director general of police to send congratulatory messages to family members of all police employees on birthdays with a sense of belongingness.
Reiterating his commitment to make Punjab a model state, Mann said the foremost concern of his government will be to create abundant job opportunities for youth to check the "unfortunate trend of brain drain from our state to foreign shores".
"This scenario has even forced the poor and hapless parents to sell their properties for sending their wards abroad for better prospects to earn livelihood," he said.
He promised his government will soon come up with a comprehensive action plan to generate tremendous job potential for the unemployed youth.
Earlier, state Chief Secretary Anirudh Tewari welcomed the chief minister and assured that both the civil and police administration will work in tandem with complete synergy to implement pro-people policies and programs at the ground level.
Additional Chief Secretary to CM, A Venu Prasad and DGP V K Bhawra also attended the meeting.
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday said Mann has unfurled a "new anti-mafia era in Punjab" and hoped he would rise to the expectations of the people.
On March 11, a day after the AAP stormed to power in Punjab, wining 92 of the 117 assembly seats, Sidhu had said the people have taken a "very good decision" and "laid a new foundation".
Mann was sworn in as the Punjab chief minister on Wednesday.
"The happiest man is the one from whom no one expects. Bhagwant Mann unfurls a new anti-mafia era in Punjab with a mountain of expectations. Hope he rises to the occasion, brings back Punjab on the revival path with pro-people policies. Best always," Sidhu said in a tweet, a day after he resigned as Punjab Congress president.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi had asked its chiefs in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur to resign after the party's drubbing in the just-concluded assembly polls in these five states.
Sidhu, who fought the Punjab assembly polls from the Amritsar East, lost to AAP's Jeevnjyot Kaur by 6,750 votes.
After the assembly poll verdict, Sidhu had welcomed the change ushered by the people of Punjab, while saying people's voice is the voice of God and their verdict should be humbly accepted.
(With PTI Inputs)