The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) finalized the names of 10 ministers in Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s cabinet on Friday, ignoring all but two of the Giant Slayers and most of the runners-up. The ministers will be sworn in on Saturday in Chandigarh.
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With the exception of former opposition leader Harpal Singh Cheema, who is a second time MP for Dirba, and Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer, who won a second term from Barnala, the other eight ministers are MPs for the first time.
They are: Dr Baljit Kaur from Malout, Harbhajan Singh ETO from Jandiala, Dr Vijay Singla from Mansa, Dr Lal Chand Kataru Chak from Bhoa, Kuldip Singh Dhaliwal from Ajnala, Laljit Singh Bhullar from Patti, Bram Shankar (Jimpa) from Hoshiarpur and Harjot Singh Baths of Anandpur Sahib.
Dr. Vijay Singla had defeated Congress candidate and popular Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala. None of the other giant killers, who defeated the big guns of other political parties, found a place in Mann’s cabinet.
Gurmeet Singh Khuddian beat former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, while Jagdeep Singh Kamboj Goldy got the better of former deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal. Dr. Charanjit Singh (Chamkaur Sahib) and Labh Singh Ughoke (Bhadaur), who beat former CM Charanjit Singh Channi from the respective seats he contested for, were surprisingly ignored in the first list. Also, the name of Ajit Pal Singh Kohli who beat Capt Amarinder Singh of Patiala Urban is not there.
The party also ignored most of the seconds. Sunam MLA Aman Arora, who won by the largest margin of over 70,000 votes in the state, was also passed over.
In the first list, the party hosted four CS. He gave a five-man performance of Malwa (Dirba, Malout, Mansa, Barnala and Anandpur Sahib); four from Majha (Jandiala, Bhoa, Ajnala and Patti); and only one from Doaba (Hoshiarpur). There is only one woman, four Jats, four SCs and two Hindus in the list.
Mann can have 17 cabinet ministers under the rules. The Punjab Assembly has 117 members.
Mann tweeted to congratulate MPs who would be inducted into the Cabinet.
Meanwhile, Kultar Singh Sandhwan, a second MLA from Kotkapura, will serve as the president of Vidhan Sabha. “Many thanks to my leader Shri @ArvindKejriwal ji and my CM @BhagwantMann Ji for imposing faith on me by appointing me as President of the historic 16th Punjab Vidhan Sabha,” he tweeted.