Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Tuesday allocated portfolios to the new ministers keeping 14 departments with himself and giving home affairs to deputy chief minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and health to other deputy OP Soni. Channi, who took oath as the chief minister on September 20, gave the Local Government, Parliamentary Affairs Department to senior cabinet colleague Brahm Mohindra.
Some of the key portfolios which will be held by the chief minister are power, excise, mining and geology, environment, and civil aviation.
With barely five months to go for assembly elections, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Sunday inducted 15 ministers, dropping five Amarinder Singh loyalists from the previous ministry. The exercise, which has Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s stamp all over it, saw seven new faces finding a place in the Cabinet. The Congress had in mind social and regional equations in the induction of ministers with AICC general secretary Harish Rawat dubbing it as a “balanced cabinet.”
The Cabinet expansion came a week after Amarinder Singh resigned as chief minister following a bitter power tussle with Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and was replaced by Channi.
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.
Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered the oath of office and secrecy to the legislators at a ceremony.
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 government, were retained.
Rana Gurjit Singh, Mohindra and Singla are considered close to Amarinder Singh.
Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Gurpreet Singh Kangar and Sunder Sham Arora, who were ministers in the Amarinder Singh-led cabinet, did not find a place in the new ministry.
In the cabinet, nine ministers represent Malwa, three Doaba and six Majha regions. Two deputy chief ministers were from the Majha region.