Rahul Gandhi congratulates Capt Amarinder on landslide victory

He assured the people of Punjab of early execution of all election promises, including the elimination of the drug menace, which he said would be wiped out within four weeks through the establishment of a special task force. There was no discussion on cabinet formation during the meeting, he said in response to a question. "We will make the state's industrial policy more liberal", he asserted, adding many top industrialists were in touch with him to set up their units in Punjab. He also emphasised the importance of improving the state's health and education systems on priority basis. After the meeting authorised Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi to take a decision on the new leader, Congress general secretary Asha Kumari called up Rahul to apprise him. "The swearing in will take place on March 16", Amarinder told media after his meeting with the Governor.

Calling for a bigger role for regional leaders in states, he termed the absence of a regional face as one of reasons for the drubbing received by the AAP in the Punjab Assembly polls.

The newly-elected Congress legislators met here on Sunday to elect the CLP leader.

He said Congress' winning performance in three of the five states that went to polls showed that the "party's overall standing had improved".

"There will be nothing ostentatious about the oath-taking programme at the Raj Bhavan on Thursday morning, when Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore will administer the oath of office to Amarinder Singh as the new chief minister of the state", a Punjab Congress release quoted Amarinder as saying.

The Congress secured 77 out of 117 seats in the Punjab Assembly polls making a strong comeback after a decade.

Speaking about Congress party's victory, he added, "Congress has done incredible work in the last 2 years from the leadership right down to the junior most NSUI boy, everyone has worked hard and that has paid off in the election".

However, Amarinder is optimistic about getting financial support from the central government and said he would meet the Prime Minister to discuss matters soon.

  • Elsie Buchanan