Captain Amarinder Singh, who led the Congress to a stellar win in the assembly elections, will be sworn in as the state’s 26th chief minister here on Thursday in a simple ceremony along with nine ministers.
The oath of office will be administered by Punjab governor VP Singh Badnore at the Raj Bhawan.
The constitutional cap of 15% ministers in the 117 –member House allows the new Congress government to induct a maximum of 18 Cabinet members, including the chief minister.
Ending speculation, the Congress has decided not to appoint any deputy chief minister. “The credit of victory entirely goes to Amarinder, so the high command has decided not to have the deputy CM post as it will create confusion,” said an AICC office-bearer.
According to Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee’s letter (accessed by HT) to the Raj Bhawan, seven cabinet ministers and two ministers of state will be administered the oath of office along with the CM.
In the pecking order, six-time MLA Brahm Mohindra will be sworn in after Amarinder followed by Navjot Singh Sidhu, Manpreet Singh Badal, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Tripat Rajinder Bajwa, Rana Gurjit Singh and Charanjit Singh Channi. The two MoS with independent charge will be Aruna Chaudhary, a Dalit face from Majha and Malerkotla MLA Razia Sultana.
Though Congress sources said the portfolios have not been decided, it is learnt that Sidhu has been offered the ministry of local bodies and urban development. Sources close to Sidhu said the former cricketer has made no demands. “He is willing to take whatever responsibility the party is willing to give him,” said a close aide of Amritsar East MLA.
Bathinda Urban MLA Manpreet Badal is tipped to be the finance minister while four-time MLA Tripat Bajwa is likely to get charge of the public works department. Brahm Mohindra is expected to get the charge of the power department.
- The swearing-in will start at 10.15 am and Amarinder will take oath between 10.16am and 10.28am as it is a ‘shubh mahurat’ for the Patiala royal scion.
- The new cabinet will meet at t 11.30am and will discuss the formation of a special task force to tackle the drug menace.
Though Amarinder’s confidant Rana Gurjit Singh is keen on excise and industry portfolios, that would invite allegations of conflict of interest.
Other than Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh, former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot would be present at the swearing-in.
Other Congress leaders who will attend the event are former Union ministers Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Ashwani Kumar and Rajeev Shukla besides AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs Asha Kumari and secretary in-charge Harish Chaudhary.
PACK OF NINE
Brahm Mohindra, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Manpreet Singh Badal, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Tripat Rajinder Bajwa, Rana Gurjit Singh and Charanjit Singh Channi.
2 MoS with independent charge:
Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultana