In a direct fallout of CBI’s Rs 1.50 crore graft case, BJP’s five ministers and two chief parliamentary secretaries (CPS) in the Parkash Singh Badal government resigned on Thursday night.
The BJP ministers and two CPS resigned on the directions of the party high command, which met in Delhi on Wednesday and decided its ministers to resign following the CBI arrested the BJP MLA Raj Khurana last week and names of two ministers figuring in the case.
The BJP ministers who resigned are Manoranjan Kalia, local government, industries and commerce; Tikshan Sud, Parliamentary affairs, medical education and research, forest and wild life and labour; Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, health and family welfare; Master Mohan Lal, transport; and Swarna Ram, technical education and industrial training, social security and development of women and children. The CPS, who also put in their papers are Sukhpal Singh Nannu (Revenue) and Arunesh Shakir (food and Supplies).
The ministers handed over their resignations to Rajya Sabha MP and Punjab BJP incharge Shanta Kumar who arrived here in the evening from Delhi.
Later, Kumar met chief minister Parkash Singh Badal at his residence and handed over the resignations of the party ministers.
Kumar said that it is up Badal to decide the future course of action. “I have nothing more to say,” he told reporters outside Badal residence where he spent less than 15 minutes. Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal was also present when Kumar met Badal..
Before rushing to CM’s residence, Kumar held an emergency meeting--which lasted barely 20 minutes---at Punjab Bhawan where he was closeted with state BJP leaders.
He said that this decision had been taken to “strengthen the party”. However, Chief minister’s official spokesperson told HT that Badal had received only four ministers resignations as transport minister Master Mohan Lal was out of station.
The chief minister late in the evening recommended to Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil to accept the resignations of the ministers as per the wishes of the BJP high command.
The swearing in ceremony of the new BJP ministers will be held on Sunday at Raj Bhawan.
BJP sources said that there is a possibility of new faces being inducted into the cabinet.