September 21, 2021 7:03:20 am
TWO DEPUTIES by his side and his job cut out for the next five and a half months, senior Congress leaders on Tuesday will meet in Delhi to brainstorm and pick out a new Cabinet for Punjab Chief Minister, Charanjit Singh Channi.
Party leaders, including the general secretary in-charge, Harish Rawat, and two observers, Harish Chaudhary and Ajay Maken, are scheduled to sit together to finalise the names of the Cabinet ministers to be inducted into CM Channi’s Cabinet on Tuesday, sources said.
“A few ministers are likely to be dropped and most of the others, who were in former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s Cabinet, will be sworn in again,” a source privy to the discussions on the issue said.
He added that for the time being, it was not clear who would be the new faces. “It could be a mix of young and experienced people. But nothing has been finalised yet. Everything will be done tomorrow. We will take a call on when these ministers will be taking their oaths,” said the source.
He indicated that the ministers who were facing allegations of corruption may be dropped and some young faces may be inducted, instead.
BRAHM MOHINDRA, ASHU UPSET
Former Local Bodies Minister, Brahm Mohindra, who was tipped to be the Deputy Chief Minister till last night and was instead replaced with OP Soni at the eleventh hour is upset with the party, sources said. It is learnt that Mohindra’s elevation to Deputy CM was opposed by Punjab Congress chief, Navjot Singh Sidhu, and his name was dropped. The party wanted a Hindu face as a Deputy CM and OP Soni fit the bill. In Soni’s name, the Congress sprung a surprise, because as on Sunday evening, Congress leader Pawan Bansal had congratulated Mohindra and Randhawa on Twitter after the duo was tipped to be named as Deputy CMs.
Mohindra, who stayed away from the oath-taking ceremony of the Chief Minister and his deputies on Monday, told The Indian Express, “I was never informed about anything. I did not get an invite from the CM. But I am a loyal soldier of the party and I will abide by their decision.”
He said he had never asked for the Deputy CM’s post. He only saw the tweet of Pawan Bansal last night. His supporters in Patiala had congratulated him by putting huge billboards in the city.
Similarly, former Food Minister, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, whose name was also floated by several leaders to be the Deputy Chief Minister, is also learnt to be upset. Sources close to him said that he was very happy being a Cabinet minister, but he saw it as a conspiracy by someone to have floated his name for the Deputy CM’s post just so that he could be embarrassed.
DRIVER OF REVOLT LEFT OUT
The man who drove the revolt against former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, was also left out from the top three posts. Bajwa – who was targeted for revolting, with his police officer nephew being removed as an SSP, his supporters removed as chairpersons from two government bodies, and some SHOs of his choice from his constituency being removed – was not even considered for the post of the Chief Minister. On the other hand, Sukhjinder Randhawa was in the reckoning for the post of CM, and Charanjit Channi was named as the CM. Bajwa did not lobby for any post. He was not even considered for the Deputy CM’s post as the party wanted a caste balance. A Sikh from Majha in Randhawa was named as a Deputy CM ultimately as was a Hindu .
RAZIA GETS RAHUL’S ATTENTION
Former Cabinet minister, Razia Sultana, whose husband and former DGP, Mohd Mustafa, is Navjot Singh Sidhu’s strategic adviser, got special attention from AICC leader Rahul Gandhi at Raj Bhawan during the oath-taking ceremony on Tuesday. Razia, who otherwise prefers keeping a low profile, was called out by her first name by Rahul after the ceremony. Both were seen exchanging a laugh triggering curiosity among party colleagues.
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