Chandigarh, Mar 9: The SAD-BJP alliance today staked claim to form the government in Punjab with Governor Shivraj Patil inviting the two parties for swearing in on March 14.
SAD-BJP MLAs at a joint meeting elected 85-year-old Parkash Singh Badal as their leader, paving the way for his becoming the Chief Minister for a record fifth time.
Badal's name was proposed by BJP state chief Ashwani Sharma and seconded by SAD President Sukhbir Badal.
BJP leaders present at the meeting included incharge of Punjab affairs Shanta Kumar and Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.
After the meeting Badal accompanied by Sukhbir, BJP Legislature Party Leader Bhagat Chuni Lal, Ashwani Sharma, Shanta Kumar and SAD General Secretary Daljeet Singh Cheema went to the Punjab Raj Bhawan and handed over a copy of the resolution electing Badal as the leader of SAD-BJP Legislature Party to Patil.
The Governor then handed over a letter inviting Badal to form the government which would be sworn in on March 14 at Chapar Chiri Banda Bahadur Memorial in Ajitgarh district, about 50 km from here.
SAD created history in the state in 46 years since Punjab was reorganised in 1966 by becoming the first party ever to retain power in alliance with the BJP with an improved tally of 68 seats against 67 which the two parties secured five years back in 2007.
The SAD-BJP alliance got absolute majority in the 117 member state Assembly winning 68 seats whereas the opposition Congress, which was aiming to form the government, failed to achieve the magic figure of 59, winning only 46 seats - 13 short of the required number.