Punjab Cabinet: 6 MLA oppose Rana Gurjit Singh’s proposed elevation as minister | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Punjab Cabinet: 6 MLA oppose Rana Gurjit Singh’s proposed elevation as minister

ByGagandeep Jassowal
Sep 26, 2021 12:49 PM IST

An MLA, who didn’t wish to be named, said the group will meet Sidhu over the matter on Sunday afternoon in Patiala. The oath ceremony for the new Punjab cabinet is to take place on Sunday evening in Chandigarh

Hours before the swearing-in of new Punjab ministers, six MLAs from Doaba region shot off a letter to Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, demanding that Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjit Singh is not sworn in as a minister on account of his alleged involvement in corruption. They said his proposed cabinet slot should go to a Dalit leader from Doaba region instead.

A group of Congress MLAs have demanded that Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjit singh is not made a minister in the Punjab government (HT Photo)
A group of Congress MLAs have demanded that Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjit singh is not made a minister in the Punjab government (HT Photo)

The six MLAs who wrote to the Congress leadership were Navtej Singh Cheema from Sultanpur Lodhi, Sukhpal Singh Khaira from Bholath, Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal from Phagwara, Bawa Henry from Jalandhar (north) and Pawan Adiya from Sham Chaurasi.

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Though the letter claimed that former Punjab Congress unit chief Mohinder Singh KayPee was also part of the dissenting group, KayPee later said that he had not signed the letter.

An MLA, who didn’t wish to be named, said the group will meet Sidhu over the matter on Sunday afternoon in Patiala. The oath ceremony for the new Punjab cabinet is to take place on Sunday evening in Chandigarh.

In 2018, Rana Gurjit Singh, who then held power and irrigation portfolios in the Punjab cabinet, was dropped amid a controversy over sand mining auction. In the letter, the MLAs said that he was dropped due to a mining scandal involving him, his family and his companies directly.

“The Punjab government had forfeited approximately 25 crore deposited by his front company Rajbir Enterprises for the auction of 3 sand-mining sites in Punjab. Justice Narang commission brought out a startling fact that the front company of Rana Gurjeet Singh, Rajbir Enterprises had received 5 crore gratification for the said mining auction from Gurinder Singh, who was charged by the vigilance bureau in the purported irrigation scam”, the letter read.

It also questioned if including Singh in the cabinet was right when the corruption charges against him still stood.

“It is amusing that the three ministers proposed to be included in the Cabinet from Doaba region include only Jatt Sikhs and an Other Backward Caste (OBC) Sikh, whereas there is approximately 38% Dalit population in this region. We all request you to immediately drop Rana Gurjit Singh’s name and instead include a clean Dalit face in view of the upcoming elections,” the letter concluded.

When contacted, Mohinder Singh KayPee said he had not signed the letter. When asked about his views on Rana Gurjit Singh’s proposed inclusion, he reluctantly said that he was not aware of it and didn’t want to say anything on it. Meanwhile, three MLAs in the group that wrote the letter claimed that KayPee was with them on the issue.

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