Uncertainty prevails in Punjab Congress as Rahul Gandhi-led All India Congress Committee (AICC) on late Friday night decided to change the cabinet composition of new Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, dropping a few names from the erstwhile CM Amarinder Singh’s coterie.
It has been learnt that the AICC has decided to induct seven MLAs and drop five from Amarinder Singh’s cabinet. The new cabinet is likely to be made public once AICC president Sonia Gandhi puts a stamp of approval, The Indian Express reported.
The Friday night meeting was attended by Rahul Gandhi, CM Channi, senior Congress leaders KC Venugopal, Harish Rawat, Harish Chaudhary and Ajay Maken.
The names dropped from the new cabinet include former Health Minister Balbir Sidhu, Revenue Minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Industries Minister Sunder Sham Arora, Social Welfare Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi.
Former Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh, who had quit after an alleged sand mines scam, is likely to make a comeback, said a media report.
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu insisted on and succeeded in securing cabinet berths for PPCC general secretary in-charge Pargat Singh, PPCC Working President, Kuljit Nagra and Gidderbaha MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, say media reports. Channi is believed to have opposed Kuljit Nagra and Pargat Singh’s inclusion, arguing that the duo already hold important positions in party organisation.
New names in the cabinet include Dr Raj Kumar Verka, PPCC working president Sangat Singh Gilzian and Gurkirat Kotli.
The ministers who managed to retain their cabinet ranks and portfolios include Sukhbinder Sarkaria, Brahm Mohindra, Manpreet Badal, Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Vijay Inder Singla, Aruna Chaudhary, Razia Sultana and Bharat Bhushan Ashu.
Channi was summoned once again to Delhi on Saturday morning, hours after he returned to Chandigarh. Sidhu, however, was not invited.