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9 New Ministers to Take Oath in Punjab, 2 Women MoS Elevated

The new ministers will take oath at Punjab Raj Bhawan at 6 pm on Saturday and Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore will administer the oath at a simple ceremony.

PTI

Updated:April 20, 2018, 10:47 PM IST
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9 New Ministers to Take Oath in Punjab, 2 Women MoS Elevated
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that ministers of state Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultana will be elevated as Cabinet ministers on Saturday.
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New Delhi/Chandigarh: Nine new Cabinet ministers are set to take oath on Saturday in Punjab, after Congress chief Rahul Gandhi approved their names at a meeting with state Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Youth leader and former Sangrur MP Vijay Inder Singla, Mohali's three-time MLA Balbir Sidhu and former Amritsar mayor and five-time MLA O P Soni are among the legislators who will get ministerial berths.

The other new ministers are Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Shyam Sunder Arora, Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi and Gurpreet Singh Kangar.

The Chief Minister also said that ministers of state Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultana will be elevated as Cabinet ministers on Saturday.

The new ministers will take oath at Punjab Raj Bhawan at 6 pm on Saturday. Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore will administer the oath at a simple ceremony.

Amarinder Singh congratulated them and announced that the swearing-in ceremony will take place tomorrow at 6 pm at Punjab Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh.

"Happy to announce the names of the new Cabinet Ministers... Congratulation to all!," he said.

The Chief Minister held a second round of discussions with Rahul Gandhi today before announcing the names.

Sources said their meeting today lasted around an hour. They held a similar meeting yesterday and Amarinder Singh was asked by Rahul Gandhi to provide the seniority list of the MLAs.

The expansion has been pending for a long time and many senior MLAs were eyeing a ministerial berth.

At present there are nine ministers, including Amarinder Singh, and with nine new ministers, the Punjab government will touch the maximum strength of 15 per cent of the state assembly.

Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar, party's incharge for Punjab affairs Asha Kumari and co-incharge Harish Choudhary were also present at the meeting with Rahul Gandhi when the names were finalised.




Politically crucial Malwa region of Punjab has been rewarded with the maximum ministerial berths in the expansion.

While Randhawa is a three-time MLA from Dera Baba Nanak, O P Soni is a five-time MLA from Amritsar and Sarkaria representing the Raja Sansi constituency in Amritsar are among the new ministers from Majha region.

Sodhi has represented the Guru Har Sahai seat for four terms, while Kangar, a former Akali Dal leader, represents Bathinda's Rampura Phool seat.

Ashu, Vijay Inder Singla, Sodhi, Sidhu and Kangar belong to the politically important Malwa region, while Arora is from the Doaba region.

There was speculation earlier on the possible induction of Raj Kumar Verka, Kuljit Nagra, youth leader Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Surinder Davar and Rakesh Pandey.

Warring is the Indian Youth Congress president and Nagra is the All India Congress Committee secretary. Both are considered close to Rahul Gandhi. Pandey is among the most senior MLAs in Punjab.

Randhawa, Sodhi and Soni are considered close to the Chief Minister.

Among the present nine ministers, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Charanjit Singh Channi Manpreet Singh Badal, Razia Sultana and Brahm Mohindra, all represent the Malwa region. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is also from the region.

Among other ministers, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Aruna Choudhary are from the Majha region.

In the assembly elections last year, Congress bagged 77 seats, followed by AAP 20, SAD 15, BJP 3 and Lok Insaf Party (LIP) 2.

Of the 77 seats that Congress won in the 117-member Assembly, its candidates romped home to victory on 40 seats in Malwa, 22 in Majha and 15 in Doaba.

The Malwa region comprises 69 seats as against 23 and 25 in Doaba and Majha, respectively.
| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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