The daughter-in-law of ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and Rajya Sabha member of Parliament (MP) Balwinder Singh Bhunder — a staunch loyalist of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal — and a former Akali MLA are set to be appointed members of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), according to highly-placed government sources.
Jaspal Kaur, Bhunder’s politically well-plugged daughter-in-law, and former MLA Mohan Lal Banga are the two political appointees whose names Badal has recommended to governor Shivraj Patil for their appointment as PPSC members. The chief minister’s office, top government sources say, has already sent the file to Punjab Raj Bhawan for formal approval.
In a clear indication of Badal giving preference to political affiliation is borne from the fact that Jaspal was appointed information commissioner under the Right To Information Act (RTI) by the Badal government in November 2009.
As Jaspal is set to complete her five-year term on November 12, 2014, the state government has again given her employment, this time a constitutional post.
The PPSC members serve for a fixed term of six years or until they are 62.
According to the official website of the Punjab Information Commission, Jaspal is a post-graduate in botany and had worked with a society for the development of poor kids and women.
Also, eyebrows are being raised in administrative circles over the selection of Banga, 46, as another PPSC member. He had won from the Banga reserved constituency in 2007. In the 2012 assembly elections, he had again contested on the SAD ticket, but lost to the Congress candidate.
These appointment of two politically-connected persons as PPSC members is in sharp contrast to the way the government recently appointed Lt Gen TS Gill (retd) as the chairman, in a clear message that the government wanted to maintain and strengthen the PPSC’s credibility.
Apart from the chairman, the PPSC has seven members at present. While Dalbir Singh Mahal is going to superannuate in November this year, the six-year term of another member, Anil Sarin, ends in January next year.
Thus, two constitutional posts are up for grabs again.