CHANDIGARH: Hours ahead of the first cabinet expansion of the Charanjit Singh Channi-led Punjab government, a section of state Congress leaders on Sunday wrote to the party’s state unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, demanding that former minister Rana Gurjit Singh Should not be “tainted”. involve.
The leaders also demanded that the cabinet berth be filled instead “by giving representation to a clean Dalit leader”.
A copy of the letter has also been sent to Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.
Sources said seven new faces are likely to be inducted in the Punjab cabinet, while five ministers in the Amarinder Singh-led government are likely to be dropped.
According to sources, Pargat Singh, Rajkumar Verka, Gurkeerat Singh Kotli, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Amarinder Singh Raja Waring, Kuljit Nagra and Rana Gurjit Singh are likely to be included in the cabinet.
However, the list of names is not yet officially announced.
After discussions with the senior party leadership of Channi, Sidhu and other leaders to finalize the names for the first cabinet expansion, it appears that another hurdle has arisen with seven Congress leaders including the PPCC. The demand of Rana Gurjit has not been written to Sidhu including a former chief of involve.
Rana Gurjit Singh had to resign from the previous Amarinder Singh cabinet in 2018 after facing criticism from the opposition over allegations of irregularities in auctioning sand mining contracts.
At that time he held the Irrigation and Electricity departments.
In a letter to Sidhu, these leaders demanded the removal of Rana Gurjit Singh from the proposed cabinet berth, alleging that “he is a known corrupt and tainted politician of Doaba”.
The letter was issued by former PPCC president Mohinder Singh KP, Sultanpur MLA Navtej Singh Cheema, Phagwara MLA Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal, Jalandhar North MLA Bawa Henry, Chhabbewal MLA Raj Kumar, MLA Sham Churasi, Pawan Adia and Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira. has written.
Khaira had parted ways with the Aam Aadmi Party and had recently joined the Congress.
“We would like to express great displeasure among the public and the Congress cadre over the proposed inclusion of the undersigned MLA and leader of Doaba, tainted Rana Gurjit Singh.
“Needless to mention, he was removed from the cabinet in January 2018 due to the infamous mining scam…” he alleged in the letter detailing the various charges leveled against Rana Gurjit at the time.
“We wonder why Rana Gurjit Singh is being included in the cabinet as he was removed in January 2018 due to these allegations..,” he wrote.
He also pointed out that despite the Doaba region having about 38 per cent Dalit population, no community leader has been given any representation in the proposed cabinet expansion.
Pargat Singh and Rana Gurjit Singh are among the legislators from the Doaba region proposed to be included in the cabinet.
He wrote, “It is funny that the three ministers proposed to be inducted into the cabinet from the Doaba region are Jat Sikhs and one OBC, while the region has about 38 per cent Dalit population.
“Therefore, we all request you to immediately remove Raja Gurjit Singh from the proposed cabinet expansion and instead include a clean Dalit face in view of the upcoming elections,” he said in the letter.
Khaira later told reporters that “(Including Rana) we are deliberately giving the opposition a handle to point fingers. What will be the effect by bringing him in the cabinet.
In another development, Amloh MLA Randeep Singh Nabha is also said to be upset over being ignored for the post of minister in the new cabinet.
Six-time MLA Rakesh Pandey also expressed displeasure over the names proposed in the expansion and alleged that seniors have been overlooked.