In New Punjab Cabinet, 7 New Faces Likely, 5 Ministers May Be Dropped

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Charanjit Singh Channi took oath as Punjab Chief Minister earlier this week.

New Delhi/ Chandigarh:

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has finalised the names for his cabinet, sources said today, after discussion with Rahul Gandhi. Mr Channi, who took over as the Chief Minister on Monday, had visited Delhi thrice since his oath to discuss the cabinet overhaul, reports said.

The cabinet will see seven new entrants, say sources, adding that five ministers from the Amarinder Singh cabinet have been dropped. While some of his loyalists stay, some are likely to be shown the door.

Raj Kumar Verka, Kuljit Nagra, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Pargat Singh, Amarinder Singh, Raja Warring, Rana Gurjeet, and Surjit Singh Dhiman are among the new entrants, as per sources.

Health Minister Balbir Sidhu, Forest Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Sports Minister Rana, and three other ministers – Gurmeet Sodhi, SS Arora, Gurpreet Kangar – are likely to be dropped.

The Chief Minister has reached Governor Banwarilal Purohit to share the names. 

Last week, the turmoil in Punjab – that had been brewing for several months – peaked when Amarinder Singh stepped down as the Chief Minister amid clashes with his critic Navjot Singh Sidhu ahead of the state elections due next year.

After back-to-back meetings to iron out differences, Mr Channi was picked the next day as the state’s first Dalit Sikh face to lead Punjab.

“I am the aam aadmi, sitting here while other parties keep talking about aam aadmi. This is the aam aadmi Sarkar. It has to take many decisions for Punjab,” Mr Channi, who is close to Navjot Singh Sidhu, declared Monday after taking oath, setting the tone for the assembly elections.

Rahul Gandhi, who faced criticism as Punjab saw the leadership change, attended the oath ceremony.

Along with Mr Channi, his two deputies- Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Om Prakash Soni – were also sworn in. Both have been carefully chosen to tie up the Congress’s poll math.



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