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Punjab cabinet expansion after December 18, says CM Amarinder

Amarinder ruled out appointment of deputy CM and said Congress has no such convention.

punjab Updated: Dec 08, 2017 09:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
amarinder Singh,Gujrat polls,Punjab cabinet
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh (centre) with Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar (left) and Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu (right) addressing a press conference in Amritsar on Thursday.(Sameer Sehgal /HT)

Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Thursday said he will go in for a cabinet expansion after the declaration of the Gujarat poll results on December 18, but ruled out appointment of a deputy chief minister.

He made the announcement while replying to a media query at a press conference here and also added, “The Congress has no convention to appoint a deputy CM.”

He was flanked by state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and Amritsar MP Gurjit Singh Aujla.

Rejecting the suggestion that his government has failed to implement many of its poll promises, which could affect the Congress party’s performance in the civic body elections, he said it was not possible to implement all promises in eight months, given the financial crisis inherited from the previous SAD-BJP government.

“The process of farm loan waiver will begin after the elections and distribution of smartphones will also begin soon,” he said.

He added that the influx of industry will help boost resource generation in the state. “Our government had signed MoUs to the tune of Rs 50,000 crore since taking over in March this year.”

On the GST issue, the CM said the problem lay in the way of its implementation, which was done by the Centre without proper planning. He also said his government is making efforts to ensure the GST exemption for langar.


Capt said his government is planning to revise excise policy to make it more lucrative for the state. The policies in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan are being examined in this regard, he added.

He refuted allegations of nepotism in ticket allocation by the Congress for the civic body elections, saying deserving candidates were being chosen, based on the feedback received.

Capt also said his government is working closely with central agencies to crack down on terror elements, working at the behest of the ISI. “Pakistan’s ISI is working via various other countries, including Canada, US, UK and Germany. The recent arrests have proved this.”

Asked about gangsters operating from prisons to facilitate the radical groups, he said all steps were being taken to block communication, including replacement of 2G jammers with 4G jammers.

On the issue of cable rights in the state, he reiterated that his government will not be selective and ensure level-playing field for all.


Asked about the Congress prospects in the Gujarat elections, the CM said the contest (with the BJP) is going neck-and-neck at the moment, with a strong possibility of silent voters swinging the mood.

He added that Rahul Gandhi’s elevation will definitely have a positive impact on the polls and make a difference.

First Published: Dec 07, 2017 20:49 IST