Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi inducts 15 ministers; 5 Amarinder loyalists dropped
The Congress had in mind social and regional equations in the induction of ministers with AICC general secretary Harish Rawat dubbing it as a “balanced cabinet.” The Cabinet expansion came a week after Amarinder Singh resigned as chief minister following a bitter power tussle with Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and was replaced by Channi.
Rana Gurjit Singh has made a comeback, having resigned in 2018 from the Amarinder Singh Ministry after facing flak from the Opposition over allegations of impropriety in the auction of sand mining contracts.
He has been re-inducted despite a section of Congress legislators objecting to his name for the ministerial berth.
Nagra later in a tweet said he had decided not to be part of the cabinet.
Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered the oath of office and secrecy to the legislators at a ceremony here.
Brahm Mohindra, Manpreet Singh Badal, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Aruna Chaudhary, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Razia Sultana, Vijay Inder Singla and Bharat Bhushan Ashu, who were ministers in the previous Amarinder Singh government, were retained.
Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Gurpreet Singh Kangar and Sunder Sham Arora, who were ministers in the Amarinder Singh-led cabinet, did not find a place in the new ministry.
After the Cabinet expansion, now all eyes will be on the allocation of portfolios.
Gurkirat Singh Kotli, 47, MLA from Khanna, is a grandson of former chief minister Beant Singh. He had faced trial in the 1994 case of abduction and molestation of a French tourist. In 1999, he was acquitted in the case.
Sangat Singh Gilzian, a three-time legislator and presently representing Urmar constituency in Hoshiarpur district, belongs to the OBC community and is also presently Punjab Congress working president A youth face Amarinder Singh Raja Warring is a legislator from Gidderbaha and is considered close to Navjot Sidhu.
However, the discontent in the faction-ridden party appeared to be far from over.
Dharamsot, Arora, Sidhu and Kangar too had been targeted by the Opposition over various allegations leveled against them, and the Congress intends to correct the negative narrative against the government by removing them ahead of the assembly polls.
To a question on Balbir Sidhu and Gurpreet Kangar, who were dropped from the ministry, Rawat said, ''We have decided that those who could not be accommodated in the Cabinet, they will be adjusted in the party and government set-up because there is a lot of work, they will be given responsibilities. Nobody is left out.” “Seven new faces have been included and to create social and regional balance, this exercise has been done. The party has not left anyone, but the areas of their service will change and they will be deputed at other services both in the government and outside,” he said.
“We have tried to ensure a social balance. This is a balanced cabinet,” he said.
Asked if Amarinder Singh is upset with the party, Rawat said, ''There is nothing like that. If anything is there, he will be mollified and a way will be found out.'' The names for cabinet expansion were finalised after Channi, Navjot Sidhu and other leaders had held deliberations over the past few days with the party's senior leadership including Rahul Gandhi.
A total of 18 MLAs, including the chief minister, can be included in the cabinet.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)