New faces likely in Punjab cabinet under CM Charanjit Singh Channi


Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: With newly appointed Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi taking over the reins of the state, now all eyes are on his new cabinet.

A few ministers in the previous Amarinder Singh cabinet may not find a place in Channi’s team and some new faces are expected. Channi, Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu, and Deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Tuesday reached Delhi to have parleys in this regard with the party high command.

Sources said they also plan to discuss the implementation of the 18-point agenda given by the party high command. They are expected to meet AICC general secretary Harish Rawat, who is Punjab affairs in-charge. 

Sources said with ministers’ names yet to be announced, hectic lobbying was going on. “Some five new faces may be inducted into the cabinet. The names doing the rounds are of Pargat Singh, Raj Kumar Verka, Madan Lal Jalalpur, Amrinder Raja Warring, Kuljeet Singh Nagra, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Inderbir Singh Bolaria, and Sangat Singh Gilzian. Sidhu is reportedly keen on getting Jalalpur into the cabinet,” said a source. 

There are indications that those who rallied behind Sidhu in the power tussle with Amarinder are likely to find a place in the new cabinet. Two former ministers, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Sukhbinder Sarkaria, who were in the rebel group are sure to get a place in the new cabinet and may even get key portfolios.

Former finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, former education minister Vijay Inder Singla, a Hindu face and close confidant of Rahul Gandhi, and former health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, are also likely to be inducted. So are two former women ministers – Razia Sultana and Aruna Chaudhary.

Former ministers who may be dropped include Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Sham Sunder Arora, and Gurpreet Singh Kangar. They were Amarinder’s loyalists. Brahm Mohindra, who was the seniormost minister in the Amarinder cabinet, may be made speaker replacing Rana KP Singh, who may be made a minister.

SAD jibe over chartered flight

As Channi, Sidhu and Randhawa took a chartered flight to Delhi, the SAD took a jibe. “Private jet not an aam aadmi’s ride. INC leaders take private jets to travel just 250 kms from Chandigarh to Delhi…this is aam aadmi’s sarkar’,” it tweeted.

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