Sending out a clear message to his political bosses in the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Jalandhar Cantonment legislator and former Indian hockey team captain Pargat Singh on Thursday stayed away from taking oath as the chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) in the last leg of the second term of the SAD-BJP government that is grappling with anti-incumbency.
Pargat, a former Indian hockey captain, took the tough stand after being allegedly slighted and sidelined by both chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal. Pargat’s decision to defy the party and reject the CPS post put the chief minister, who administered the oath to six MLAs, on the back foot.
“I don’t know the reason behind (Pargat’s) misunderstanding. He meets us very often and his issues are addressed promptly. It seems an issue of a dump in his constituency, which doesn’t exist, is the reason,” the chief minister said on the sidelines of the ceremony at Punjab Bhawan here.
In reply to a question, Badal said the new chief parliamentary secretaries would gain experience that would hold them in good stead while shouldering bigger responsibilities. Asked if the MLAs’ consent was taken before their appointment, he said: “It is the prerogative of the CM. We didn’t consult or inform anyone.”
4 from SAD, 2 from BJP sworn in as CPS
Gurtej Singh Ghuriana, Manjit Singh Mianwind, Darshan Singh Shivalik and Gurpartap Singh Wadala from the SAD and Sukhjeet Kaur Sahi and Seema Kumari from the BJP were administered the oath of office.
Pargat was among the seven MLAs to be inducted as CPS but he wrote to Badal and declined the offer.
With this, the strength of chief parliamentary secretaries in Punjab has gone up to 24.
Chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal conducted the proceedings at the ceremony attended among others by union minister and Punjab BJP president Vijay Sampla.