Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has surpassed his predecessor Parkash Singh Badal in political appointments for the Chief Minister’s Office. While Badal had seven advisers and two Officers on Special Duty (OSDs), Amarinder crossed the mark of nine by appointing five OSDs on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the government had appointed three advisers and five secretaries.
The number of total political appointees in the CMO office has now reached 13.
They include Lt Gen TS Shergill, senior adviser, Raveen Thukhral, media advisor, Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, adviser, Capt Sandeep Singh Sandhu, political secretary, Vimal Sumbly, press secretary, Major Amardeep Singh, political secretary, Karanpal Sekhon, political secretary, and Khubi Ram, security secretary.
The five appointed OSDs are Gurpreet Singh Sonu Dhesi, Jagdeep Singh Sidhu, Sandeep Singh Brar, Damanjeet Singh Mohi and Ankit Bansal. Details of how much would these appointments cost the state exchequer would be finalised shortly, said a spokesperson of the CM.
Sources said more political appointments in CMO are in the offing as several other aides of Amarinder have been eyeing certain positions. They include a former MLA, who lost election this time but is considered very close to the CM. He had funded the Congress’s campaign to some extent.
As CM, the senior Badal had invited criticism for having made nine political appointments in his office during his tenure when the state was facing acute funds crunch. Situation is no different now.
The newly formed state government invited accolades for a good start by practicing austerity and curbing the VIP culture. But with 13 appointments in two days, the new government too has invited criticism.
While Badal had 11 political appointees, his then Deputy CM son Sukhbir Singh Badal had four advisers and four OSDs.