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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

BJP cabinet reshuffle after national president takes over

Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, July 07, 2014
First Published: 23:19 IST(7/7/2014) | Last Updated: 23:24 IST(7/7/2014)

The reshuffle of the four BJP ministers in the Punjab cabinet has been put off for the time being. It is likely to take place after the new national party president takes charge, which is expected on July 9.

A senior BJP leader, “The reshuffle will happen only after the BJP president takes over.”

All four ministers of the saffron party in the state, namely Anil Joshi, Madan Mohan Mittal, Chunni Lal Bhagat and Surjit Kumar Jyani, had resigned recently.

Former minister Manoranjan Kalia, who was removed as a minister before the 2012 assembly polls, and former state party president Ashwani Sharma are the front-runners for cabinet berths.

The high command of the BJP, coalition partner of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in the Punjab government, is apparently keen to bring in new faces following the party’s below-par performance in the state in the recent Lok Sabha polls.

Though BJP won two Lok Sabha seats out of three, falling in its share, but fall in its vote share is the cause of concern for the party high command. "We have won only 6 seats (two BJP & four SAD) out of 13," BJP Punjab incharge Shanta Kumar had said comparing  Punjab results with other states where BJP's score is almost cent percent.

After poll results, BJP set up a committee led by senior leader Balramji Das Tandon to give a report on reason behind party's poor performance. After tabling report before to Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, on June 25, Shanta Kumar also hinted of cabinet reshuffle of BJP ministers.

A section in BJP is working on a formula of replacing two ministers and bring in Kalia and Sharma, where as other faction want all four to be changed. It needs mention here other faction wants to bring in Som Parkash and KD Bhandari.

Earlier, BJP reshuffled portfolios of its ministers on September 24, last year. Immobility and non performance was given the reason for the reshuffle. This time too it is infact poor performance of BJP minister is reason for reshuffle and party high command say present ministers failed to take up issues with the government and also were unable to get people's friendly policies implemented.

In the last years reshuffle, no new face was introduced but the portfolios were rotated amongst the ministers. It needs mention here that before last year's reshuffle Kalia and Sharma were expected to be indicted in the cabinet but Shanta Kumar and state president of BJP decided to rotate the portfolio.

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