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Wednesday, Feb 27, 2002

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Mantle for 'Maharaja'
By Sarabjit Pandher

CHANDIGARH, FEB. 26. History of sorts was made today when the democratic process restored political power to one of Punjab's most famous royal families. Amarinder Singh, scion of the royal family of the erstwhile princely State of Patiala, was elected by his party to head the next Government in Punjab.

Still fondly addressed by many as ``Maharaja Sahib'', the election of Capt. Amarinder Singh as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) was formally cleared by the party president, Sonia Gandhi, who had previously been unanimously authorised by the elected legislators to make the announcement. The choice was disclosed by Ahmed Patel, who was part of the four-member delegation of central observers, which also included the general-secretaries, Ambika Soni and Moti Lal Vora, and secretary, Hari Prasad.

The party then sent a delegation of senior leaders to the Governor, Lt. Gen. (Retd) J.F.R. Jacob, to stake claim to form the Government. The press was informed that the next Chief Minister would be sworn in on Wednesday, the birth anniversary of Sant Ravi Das.

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