Badal ministry to be expanded on Sunday
5 BJP cabinet ministers had resigned in the wake of their alleged involvement in a Rs 1.50 crore-graft case.
Chandigarh: With around eight months left for assembly elections in Punjab, the Parkash Singh Badal led SAD-BJP ministry in the state will be expanded on Sunday to fill the vacancies caused by the resignation of all the five BJP cabinet ministers in the wake of their alleged involvement in a Rs 1.50 crore-graft case.
Though BJP has officially not announced any name for induction as ministers to fill the vacancies caused due to the resignation of Manoranjan Kalia (Local Bodies and Industries), Tikshan Sud (Parliamentary Affairs), Laxmi Kanta Chawla (Health and Family Welfare), Mohan Lal (Transport) and Swarna Ram (Technical Education).
Two Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPS) Sukhpal Singh Nanu and Arunesh Shakir also resigned along with the five ministers at the asking of the BJP central leadership early this week.
Following the resignations, the strength of the Council of Ministers was reduced to 12, including the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister.
The strength of CPS, who hold rank equivalent to that of ministers, was reduced to 10.
BJP sources said two ministers Sud and Chawla, who resigned on Thursday, are expected to be renominated for ministerial posts. Shakir, who resigned as CPS and two others Deputy Speaker Satpal Gosain and a former minister Surjeet Kumar Jiyani, are expected to make it to the state cabinet.
The party would also propose four names for appointment as CPS against its share, the sources said adding BJP has a share of five cabinet ministers and four CPSs.
The party would soon name its nominee for the post of Deputy Speaker as the state assembly is not scheduled to meet in the near future, the sources said.
Meanwhile an urgent meeting of the BJP Legislature Party (BJPLP) held here this evening elected Sud as the Leader of the BJPLP.
His name was proposed and seconded by Kalia and Swarna Ram, the two ministers who were quizzed by the CBI on Monday in connection with the Rs 1.50 crore graft case in which a CPS of the BJP Raj Khurana and a government employee Devinder Singh were arrested last week.
Arunesh Shakir, who resigned as CPS two days back, was elected as the Deputy Leader of the BJPLP. His name was proposed by Mohan Lal, who resigned as Transport Minister.
All the five Cabinet ministers and the two CPS belonging to the BJP resigned in the wake of alleged links to party leaders charged in Rs 1.50 crore graft case of a disputed land deal.
Jagdish Sahni had resigned as CPS some time back following differences with Laxmi Kanta Chawla with the two levelling serious charges of corruption against each other.
The BJP (19) and the SAD (50) with 69 members had formed the government in Punjab in 2007 wresting power from the Congress which could win only 42 seats.
Besides Khurana who was arrested with Devinder Singh, an employee of the office of Registrar of Firms & Societies, Punjab, two Cabinet ministers Kalia, the number three in Cabinet, and Swarna Ram were quizzed by the CBI here on Monday in connection with the case.
Swarna Ram's Private Secretary Bhag Singh was also arrested by the CBI on Tuesday.
All the three arrested are presently in judicial custody and lodged in the high security Burail Jail here.
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