LAHORE  - PML-N Punjab President Shahbaz Sharif was elected as Punjab chief minister for the third term with record 300 votes from the 340 members present in the house.

His rival Mehmoodur Rasheed, joint candidate of the PTI and PML-Q, secured only 34 votes while six members of the PPP abstained. Two booths were created either sides of the Chair for voting each candidate.

Shahbaz Sharif also received vote from five independent MPAs, two of PML-Z’s and one each of JI, PNML and BNAP.

Proceedings of the session were chaired by Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan. The Chair and a large number of members greeted Shahbaz Sharif on his election. After announcement of the result, PML-N members chanted loud slogans in favour of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif.

The House is constituted by 371 members and 358 have been notified. The elder brother of Shahbaz, Nawaz Sharif was elected Prime Minister on June 5 also for the third term. Previously Shahbaz Sharif served as Punjab CM from 1997 to 1999 and from 2008 to 2013. Nawaz Sharif served as PM from 1990 to 1993 and 1997 to 1999. Nawaz Sharif had also served as Punjab CM after being elected in 1985 and 1988.

After expressing thanks to the members, the Punjab chief minister in his maiden speech claimed to make Punjab a role model province in the world. He also announced resuming educational, housing, agricultural and industrial projects with more vigour and spirit to benefit each and every man in the province.

The newly elected provincial chief executive announced that 100 of acres of land annexed with the official residence and offices of the government officials would be converted into colleges, schools, playground and dispensaries.

He committed to complete the Land Record Management System (computerisation of land record) in the province by the next year.

He vowed to reform the thana culture and formulate a strategy after consultation with LHC chief justice to ensure justice for everyone.

The CM announced that health insurance card would be issued to provide quality medical treatment to the poor, who would be required to pay a little money after showing that card. He said that hundreds of thousands talented youngsters would be given scholarships under Punjab Education Endowment Funds while a scheme on the same pattern was also being introduced at the federal level.

He said that he would take the opposition on board for the sake of better future of the country. He said that the House would never betray the trust of the 100 million people of Punjab and its members should need to work day and night to live up to the expectations.

He counted loadshedding as mother of all problems and committed to adopt every means to counter this menace.

The circular debts of the government on electricity, he said, stands at Rs500 billion and Rs207 billion of it has been gone into electricity theft. He vowed that no power stealer, no matter how influential he may be, would be spared.

He said: “For the installation of Nandipur and Chechoki Malian power plants, the Chinese companies have been contacted that will inject additional 450MW to energy system of Punjab which is still deprived of 700MW which fall in its rightful share under the CCI decisions.”

The newly elected CM announced that solar propelled tube-wells at subsidised rate would be provided to each farmer who owns 12.5 acres. He said that he would ensure 100 percent child enrolment in schools during his tenure.

He said that previously billions of rupees were spent on health and billions more would be spent on health in the next five years.

He said: “There is a huge gulf between haves and have nots in the country which was taken in the name of Islam after rendering many sacrifices. This divide between the rich and the poor negates the theme of Islamic welfare state.”

He said democracy cannot be sustained without delivering to the poor, adding that his government would spend every penny with austerity and generate resources to dispel the country’s image of a beggar.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif Thursday avoided direct criticism of PPP and President Zardari in his first address to the Punjab Assembly and did not use any harsh words.

However, referring to the efforts of Punjab government to reduce loadshedding hours, he criticised PPP. He also read the following couplet:

Teri Pasand Tergi, Meri Pasand Roshni Tu Nay Dia Bhuja Dia, Main Ney Dia Jala Dia.

Assembly members were of the view that he was addressing President Zardari through this couplet.