Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi carries out first cabinet expansion
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi carried out his first cabinet expansion on Sunday, inducting 15 Cabinet Ministers which included seven new entrants.
The new faces in the Channi Ministry are Randeep Singh Nabha, Raj Kumar Verka, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Pargat Singh, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring and Gurkirat Singh Kotli.
Rana Gurjit Singh has made a comeback after resigning in 2018 from the Amrinder Singh Ministry.
Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered the oath of office and secrecy to the legislators.
Brahm Mohindra, Manpreet Singh Badal, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Aruna Chaudhary, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Razia Sultana, Vijay Inder Singla and Bharat Bhushan Ashu, who were ministers in the previous Amarinder Singh led cabinet, were retained as Cabinet Ministers.
Channi had taken oath as the chief minister following the unceremonious exit of Congress veteran Amarinder Singh after a prolonged power tussle with state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Rana Gurjit Singh, Mohindra and Singla are considered close to Amarinder Singh. A total of 18 MLAs, including the chief minister, can be included in the cabinet. Channi's two deputies Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and OP Soni were sworn in on Monday. Earlier, a section of Congress leaders from the state had written to the party's Punjab unit chief Sidhu against the induction of former minister Rana Gurjit Singh, alleging he was corrupt and tainted". The leaders had also demanded that the cabinet berth may instead be filled up "by giving representation to a clean Dalit leader".
A copy of the letter was also sent to the chief minister.
Rana Gurjit Singh, after facing flak from the Opposition over allegations of impropriety in the auction of sand mining contracts, had to resign from the previous Amarinder Singh cabinet in 2018. At that time, he had held Irrigation and Power portfolios.