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Punjab BJP chief says issue of Deputy CM’s post still alive

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has a tough road ahead,given the heartburns in the BJP that singed the SAD in the run-up to his elevation.

Written by Dharmendra Rataul | Amritsar | Published: January 23, 2009 11:31:33 pm

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has a tough road ahead,given the heartburns in the BJP that singed the SAD in the run-up to his elevation. Apart from bringing vibrancy in the government machinery,the biggest challenge before Sukhbir is to keep the alliance with the BJP intact in this election year.

The state BJP has not yet buried its claim to Deputy CM’s post. Punjab BJP president Rajinder Bhandari said time is not ripe to talk about the issue,but they would raise it again at an appropriate time.

The BJP,which has 18 MLAs in the state assembly,has been demanding the deputy CM’s post for the last two years. “Yes,we had raised the matter earlier. But we have no problem now and wish Sukhbir all the best,” said Rajinder Bhandari.

When asked about the reservations his party had expressed earlier,he said they had raised the matter with the party high command on the demand of party workers and supporters. “We have to answer our cadre. The party has decided to support Sukhbir,but whenever there are public issues involved,we will take up the matter with the SAD,” said Bhandari.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal,who made concerted efforts to place his son on the top post,had admitted on Wednesday during a brief media interaction at the Golden Temple that Sukhbir would have to walk “difficult terrains”. “I have been CM for so long and know the challenges. This crown is made of thorns and the wearer has to tread the path carefully,” was the father’s advice to the son.

The parliamentary elections would be a litmus test for Sukhbir as people’s aspirations are high and the combine has achieved little in the past on governance and development fronts. People are still waiting for basic amenities,uninterrupted power supply and a responsive administration.

Political observers feel that Sukhbir will have to walk a tightrope. Former head of the Department of Political Science,GNDU,Dr Jairoop Singh Sekhon said,“Sukhbir’s troubles will begin soon. Though due to the ideological thread,the two allies will stay together,there will be some irritants in the future,which Sukhbir will have to iron out,” Sekhon added that every government department has been politicised to an alarming level,and Sukhbir should be ready to face people’s wrath.

Portfolio reshuffle

While newly appointed Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal formally got six portfolios,including Home Affairs and most of those held by Bikram Majithia,the portfolio of Science and Technology,earlier held by his brother-in-law,has been kept with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Cabinet Minister Gulzar Singh Ranike loses one portfolio,Sports and Youth Services,which has been given to Sukhbir Badal. As per the notification issued on Wednesday,Sukhbir Badal will take charge of Home,Water Supply,IPR,NRI Affairs,Sports Youth Services and Non-conventional Energy. The Home Department was with the CM prior to this. Sukhbir will take charge of his office on Friday. He will unfurl the Tricolour in Bathinda on January 26.

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