The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday finalised names of 10 ministers in Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s Cabinet, ignoring all giant-killers and most of second-timers, except two. The ministers will take oath in Chandigarh on Saturday.
Except former leader of opposition Harpal Singh Cheema, who is a second time MLA from Dirba, and Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer, who won a second term from Barnala, the rest eight ministers are first-time MLAs.
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 Bains from Anandpur Sahib.
Dr Vijay Singla had defeated Congress candidate and popular Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala. None of other giant killers, who defeated big guns of other political parties have found a place in Mann’s cabinet.
Gurmeet Singh Khuddian had defeated 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 defeated former CM Charanjit Singh Channi from the respective seats he contested from were surprisingly ignored in the first list. Also, the name of Ajit Pal Singh Kohli who trounced Capt Amarinder Singh from Patiala Urban is not there.
The party has also ignored most of the second-timers. Sunam MLA Aman Arora, who won with the biggest margin of over 70,000 votes in the state, has also been ignored.
In the first list, the party has accommodated four SCs. It has given representation to five from 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 ministers in his Cabinet as per rules. The Punjab Assembly has 117 members.
Mann tweeted to congratulate the MLAs who would be inducted in the Cabinet.
Meanwhile, Kultar Singh Sandhwan, a second-time MLA from Kotkapura will be Speaker of Vidhan Sabha. “Heartful thanks to my leader Shri @ArvindKejriwal ji and my CM @BhagwantMann Ji for imposing faith in me by nominating me as Speaker of the historical 16th Punjab Vidhan Sabha,” he tweeted.