Now, cabinet expansion pushed beyond Ludhiana MC polls
In the cabinet, so far, there is no representation to Ludhiana. The party, sources said, is working out a balance of regions, castes and religions to fill the eight vacant slots in the cabinet that already has 10 ministers, including the CM.punjab Updated: Dec 20, 2017 09:09 IST
The expansion and reshuffle of the Punjab cabinet led by Capt Amarinder Singh has been postponed again, this time till after the Ludhiana municipal corporation elections expected to be held in mid-January. This is the second postponement, as sources had said it was to be done in July first, and then was postponed till after the December 17 polls to municipal bodies that the Congress won handsomely.
“Winter session of Parliament is on, and all senior leaders of the party are busy, so the expansion (of the state cabinet), I think, stands postponed for the time being,” state Congress president and Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar told HT. “It (expansion) is possible only after Ludhiana civic body polls, expected to take place in mid-January,” he added. The state election commission so far has not announced any dates for Ludhiana where fresh delimitation of wards is on currently.
The CM is expected to take away some departments from ministers who are holding multiple responsibilities.
In the cabinet, so far, there is no representation to Ludhiana. The party, sources said, is working out a balance of regions, castes and religions to fill the eight vacant slots in the cabinet that already has 10 ministers, including the CM. In that, that six-time MLA Rakesh Pandey from Ludhiana North constituency is likely to get a berth. He is senior most among the MLAs of the region. It is learnt that the party is building a consensus on him, and also wants him to get free from work in the Ludhiana civic polls.
Others whose names are floating are Sangat Singh Gilzian (Urmar) from Doaba, Sukhjnder Singh Randhawa (Dera Baba Nanak), OP Soni (Amritsar Central) and Raj Kumar Verka (Amritsar West), all from Majha; and Amrinder Singh Raja Warring (Gidderbaha) from the Malwa belt.
Also on the table are the names of Bharat Bhushan Ashu (Ludhiana West) and Surinder Dawar (Ludhiana Central), besides Kuljit Singh Nagra (Fatehgarh Sahib), Randeep Singh Nabha (Amloh), Balbir Sidhu (Mohali), Amrik Singh Dhillon (Samrala), Vijay Inder Singla (Sangrur), Rana Gurmeet Sodhi (Guru Har Sahai), and Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria (Rajasansi).
Anxiety among probables is palpable as some of these MLAs, such as Balbir Sidhu, OP Soni and Raja Warring, were already in Delhi to meet Congress president Rahul Gandhi to put up their case. Technical education minister Charanjit Singh Channi is seeking to “upgrade” his portfolio, it is learnt.
Also, the CM is expected to take away some departments from ministers who are holding multiple responsibilities. The CM, who is in charge of at least a dozen departments, is also expected to give away some in the expansion and reshuffle.