Punjab Congress MLA's revolt against CM on being ignored in cabinet expansion

April 22, 2018 10:50 PM

CHANDIGARH: Not happy with selection of MLAs for cabinet berth, several Congress MLAs have revolted against the leadership of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh bringing infighting in the party to open. Chief Minister has included nine members in his cabinet on April 21, most of them loyal to him.

As many as three MLAs Sangat Singh Khiljian MLA from Tanda in Hoshiarpur district, Surjit Singh Dhiman MLA from Amargarh and Nathu Ram MLA from Balluana (Reserve seat) have resigned from all party posts. While Khiljian and Dhiman are PPCC Vice presidents, Nathu Ram is General Secretary. 

Gurkirat Singh Kotli MLA from Khanna and Navtej Singh Cheema MLA from Sultanpur Lodhi have expressed their anguish over ignoring them. Kotli is grand son of former CM Beant Singh. 

The supporters of Raj Kumar Verka and Ajaib Singh Bhatti both from SC category had raised slogans against Capt Amarinder Singh outside Punjab Raj Bhawan, the venue of swearing-in-ceremony for ignoring dalit sections in the cabinet expansion. Punjab has 37 percent dalit population which is highest in the country but no repersentation is given to these sections. Raj Kumar Verka (Amritsar district) who is also Congress spokesman was very hopeful of inclusion in the cabinet. The Chief Minister has however given preference to Om Parkash Soni from Amritsar South.

Capt Amarinder Singh however said that no partiality is done in selection of cabinet ministers. He said that other MLAs will be adjusted in boards and corporations as Chairman. He was replying to allegations that loyality overshadowed merit. 

Among the nine new cabinet ministers except Gurpreet Singh Kangar who is loyal to PPCC president Sunil Jakhar all belongs to Capt Amarinder Singh camp. 

The Punjab cabinet now comprises 18 ministers including Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Eight of them are Jat Sikhs with majority 5 from Malwa and three from Majha and none from Doaba area. Five ministers belong to General Hindu category-two brahmin, two khatri and one Baniya. There are three dalits-one Ramdasia, one ravidasia and one Bajigar. One is Khatri Sikh and one is Muslim. In religious terms 11 are Sikhs, six are Hindus and One Muslim.

Malwa region has got highest repesentation of 11 ministers followed by Majha 6 and Doaba One. Three of Majha MLAs are from Amritsar district and three from Gurdaspur district. Out os 18 ministers 16 are male and only two are females.

The final list of cabinet besides Capt Amarinder Singh is as Navjot Sidhu, Manpreet Singh Badal, Brahm Mahindra, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Charanjit Singh Channi, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Razia Sultana, Aruna Chaudhary, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Vijay Inder Singla, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Sham Sundar Arora, O.P.Soni, Rana Gurmit Sodhi, Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Balbir Singh Sidhu and Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa.

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