In a low-key ceremony with select invitees, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann will marry Gurpreet Kaur, a doctor, at his residence here on Thursday.
The news appeared to have come as a surprise to not just villagers of Pehowa, to which the 32-year-old Kaur belongs, but also many of Mann’s colleagues. In fact, Mann, 48, had many official meetings planned for Thursday, which now stand cancelled.
An MBBS degree holder from Maharishi Markandeshwar University, Mullana, Ambala, Kaur is the youngest of three sisters. The older ones are settled in the US and Australia. It is believed to be an arranged marriage, with Mann’s mother Harpal Kaur acquainted with Kaur’s family.
Neighbours in Pehowa know Kaur as a pleasant person, fondly known as “Gopi”. “The family left for Chandigarh five days ago, but we did not know that Gurpreet was getting married to the Punjab CM!” a neighbour said, adding that they were all thrilled. “It is a proud moment for us that the Punjab CM is going to become our son-in-law.”
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal will be among the star guests at the wedding. While none of the other AAP ministers or MLAs had received invites till Wednesday evening, a few officials from the CM’s office will be attending. Sources said arrangements were being made for 80 guests, with caterers and tent-house owners setting up the venue for 11 am Thursday, with the residence not decorated from the outside so far. The wedding will be followed by lunch.
AAP sources said Mann will be footing the bill for the arrangements in his personal capacity.
Mann’s mother Harpal has reached the CM residence from their native village of Satoj. AAP chief spokesperson Malwinder Singh Kang said Harpal and Mann’s sister Manpreet knew Gurpreet Kaur. “The families are distantly related. The bride’s family had been in touch with the mother for a few years. The match has been made by the CM’s mother, who has been pressuring him to get remarried.”
This will be Mann’s second marriage. He was earlier married to Inderpreet Kaur, with whom he has two children. His daughter Seerat Kaur Mann, 21, and son Dilshan Mann, 17, had flown down from the US to attend Mann’s swearing-in on March 16 this year.
Incidentally, on Wednesday, speaking to a TV channel, Mann talked about Inderpreet, calling her a “very, very good mother”, who had brought up their children really well. He added: “Whatever belongs to me on this Earth, I have transferred it to my children’s name.”
On the day Mann took oath as CM, Inderpreet Kaur had told media from the US that he was always in her prayers. From Ludhiana’s Barewal village, she had campaigned for Mann during his maiden parliamentary election from Sangrur in 2014. The couple divorced a year later.
A day after the divorce, Mann had broken the news, saying: “Jo latkeyan si chiran to o hal ho gaya, Court ch eh faisla kal ho gaya. Ek passey si parivaar, dujey passey si Punjab… main taan yaaron Punjab de vall ho gaya (A long pending issue has been solved. The court has decided. I had to choose between my two families… I have chosen Punjab).”
Among those who congratulated Mann on Twitter were Punjab ministers Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer, who also mentioned that Harpal had fixed the wedding, and Harjot Singh Bains; senior AAP leader Raghav Chadha, who referred to Mann as his “vadde veer”; and Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla called Mann up to congratulate him. Before he became CM, Mann was a two-time Lok Sabha MP.