Nine new ministers join Amarinder Singh government in Punjab; cabinet expansion triggers resignations

The nine newly-inducted ministers in the Amarinder Singh government in Punjab are all first-timers.

Nine new ministers join Amarinder Singh government in Punjab; cabinet expansion triggers resignations
Image Credit: Twitter/Capt Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh expanded his government by inducting nine new ministers at a ceremony held at the Raj Bhawan on Saturday.

The nine newly-inducted ministers in the Punjab government are all first-timers.

They were administered the oath of office and secrecy by  Governor VP Singh Badnore at a simple ceremony at the Raj Bhawan here on Saturday evening.

Two women ministers were also elevated to cabinet rank in today's expansion of the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in Punjab.

Two women ministers - Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultana - who were in the rank of ministers of state were also promoted as cabinet ministers.

They were also administered the oath as Cabinet ministers by the Governor.

The nine newly inducted ministers are OP Soni, Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Gurpreet Kangar, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Vijay Inder Singla, Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Sunder Sham Arora.

Majority of the new ministers are said to be a staunch loyalist of the Chief Minister.

The Chief Minister also took to Twitter to welcome the nine newly-inducted ministers and shared a picture of them posing together after the oath ceremony at the Raj Bhawan.

However, today's Cabinet expansion has left several hopefuls in the ruling party sulking.

Some of them have even offered to resign from Congress party posts to show their resentment.

Indian Youth Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, Kuljit Singh Nagra, former Olympian Pargat Singh and Dalit leader Raj Kumar Verka were among the strong contenders who were left out in today's cabinet expansion.

Congress legislators Sangat Singh Gilzian, Surjit Dhiman and Nathu Ram resigned from party posts after the list of new ministers was announced.

After a slew of resignations, senior party leaders, including Congress party in-charge for Punjab Asha Kumari, held talks with some of the disgruntled legislators to pacify them.

Decks were cleared on Friday by the Congress high command for the induction of nine new ministers.

Their names were approved in New Delhi on Friday following two days of meetings between Amarinder Singh and Congress president Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders.

The Congress won the Assembly elections by a thumping majority in March last year, getting 77 legislators in the 117-member Assembly. 

The state cabinet can have a maximum strength of 18 ministers, including the Chief Minister, under the law.

(With Agency inputs)