Punjab CM Channi inducts 15 ministers, 7 new faces find berths in first cabinet expansion
The new entrants in the Punjab cabinet are Randeep Singh Nabha, Raj Kumar Verka, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Pargat Singh, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring and Gurkirat Singh Kotli
Newly-appointed Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Sunday carried out his first cabinet expansion and inducted 15 ministers into his cabinet, including seven new faces.
The new faces in the Channi cabinet are Randeep Singh Nabha, Raj Kumar Verka, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Pargat Singh, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring and Gurkirat Singh Kotli. Eight ministers from the previous Amarinder Singh cabinet have been retained.
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 Amarinder Singh cabinet, have been retained.
Punjab Governor Banwari Lal Purohit administered oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers in presence of Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, and Deputy Chief Ministers Sukhwinder Singh Randhawa and OP Soni. Senior Congress leader and in-charge of Punjab Congress affairs Harish Rawat and state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu were also present at the ceremony.
Punjab cabinet can have 17 ministers besides the chief minister. Channi's two deputies Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and OP Soni were sworn in on Monday.
Rana Gurjit Singh, Mohindra and Singla are considered close to Amarinder Singh.
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.
(With inputs from PTI)