Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has placated his Cabinet Minister O P Soni, who was upset after having lost his Education portfolio recently and being assigned Medical Education and Research.
Soni had not assumed charge of his new department yet like his Cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu, who too has not taken charge of his new Power Department. While Sidhu is looking at the high command to sort out his issue, Amarinder has placated Soni.
Sources said Amarinder may meet senior party leaders in Delhi in the coming days, with a dossier on Sidhu to defend his decision. The CM is likely to meet NSA chief Ajit Doval over security concerns in Punjab. The meeting would be confirmed on Tuesday.
Soni, meanwhile, is likely to assume charge of his department in the coming days. He also holds Freedom Fighters and Food Processing Department.
Responding to a question on whether he had softened on his earlier stand on not joining, Soni said, “I was not there in Chandigarh.”
He did not miss hitting out at bureaucracy stating, “I did a lot of work in my department. From sorting teachers’ issues to uplifting the schools and showing good results in the recent exams, I did everything. But bureaucrats do not allow anyone to settle down. They think they are running the government.”
Praising Amarinder, he said, “I will tell Captain Sahib everything. He is a very wise man. He is our leader.”
According to sources, Soni was shifted out for having issues with Education Secretary Krishan Kumar. Sources added that Soni wanted Krishan Kumar, who is considered close to Chief Principal Secretary of CM Suresh Kumar, shifted out of the department. But instead, it was Soni who was moved out.
Soni has not shied away from training his guns at the bureaucracy. He had hit out at bureaucracy as soon as his portfolio was changed.
By placating Soni, the CM has handled a cause of embarrassment for himself. Sidhu, meanwhile, is still adamant on not assuming charge.
Sources indicated that Congress high command was contemplating adjusting Sidhu in AICC by giving him an organisational role to end the stalemate between the CM and his minister. “Nothing has reached a final stage yet. These are just plans. Let us see what comes out of them,” said a senior leader.