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Rajasthan gets its first woman Governor

By Our Special Correspondent

JAIPUR, NOV.8. The senior Congress politician from Maharashtra, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, today took oath as the first woman Governor of Rajasthan. Ms. Patil succeeds Madan Lal Khurana, who resigned a fortnight back as Rajasthan Governor to be back in Delhi's Bharatiya Janata Party politics.

The brief but solemn oath ceremony at Raj Bhavan here in the forenoon was attended by the Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje, and the Speaker of the Rajasthan Assembly, Sumitra Singh, the other women, who together with Ms. Patil would hold the three top posts in the State now.

The acting Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court, Y.R.Meena, administered the oath to the new Governor.

The Chief Secretary, R.K.Nair, read out the communique from the President on the appointment. Ms.Patil took oath in English.

The former Chief Ministers, Ashok Gehlot, Shiv Charan Mathur, Jagannath Pahadia, Heeralal Devpura and members of the Rajasthan Cabinet, the Leader of the Opposition,B.D.Kalla, senior judiciary and bureaucracy, besides a large number of persons from Maharashtra and senior Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh, Sanjay Singh were present.

"I am happy to be here as the Governor of Rajasthan. I will work for the uplift of all sections of society specially women, Scheduled Castes and depressed sections,'' Ms.Patil told the media persons soon after taking charge.

She seemingly struck an instant rapport with Ms.Raje as both were found chatting in Marathi. Together with Sumitra Singh, the trio proved a good photo opportunity for the lensmen.

Ms.Patil, who would be celebrating her 70th birthday on December 19, has a Rajasthani connection as her husband Devisingh Ramsingh Shekhawat's ancestors had migrated to Jalgaon area in Maharashtra a few generations back from the Shekhawati region here.

The presence of good number of persons from Shekhawati at the ceremony explained the continuing links the family has with its roots.

Mr.Shekhawat, an educationist by profession and former Mayor of Amravati, attended the oath ceremony along with their children, Rajendra Singh and Jyoti Rathore.

Ms.Patil, a social worker and advocate, has so far held the posts of the Deputy Chairperson, Rajya Sabha, Cabinet Minister in Maharashtra, president, Pradesh Congress Committee, the Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly and Member of both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, to mention a few.

"She never lost any election she contested,'' informed Uttam Singh Pawar, former MP from Maharashtra who was here with his party colleagues like Sandipan Thorat, Ravindra Patil and Ramesh Choudhary.

"No, it was not an attempt to keep her (Ms.Patil) out of Maharashtra politics,'' Mr.Pawar said, referring to the gubernatorial appointment.

"She herself wanted to be out of active politics though she had campaigned in the recent Assembly elections in Maharashtra,'' he noted.

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