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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Punjab ministers refuse to attend meeting with Capt’s principal chief secy present, he stays away

Finally, Kumar stayed away from both these meetings held Thursday and also vowed, according to sources, that he will not attend any meeting with ministers in the future.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
Updated: June 18, 2021 5:53:15 am
Amarinder Singh, Punjab news, Punjab Power, Punjab Congress, Amarinder free power promise, Indian expressPunjab CM Amarinder Singh. (File)

As CM Amarinder Singh held pre-Cabinet meetings with his colleagues in two batches on Thursday, Cabinet ministers Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa made the absence of Chief Principal Secretary to CM, Suresh Kumar, a pre-condition to attend.

Finally, Kumar stayed away from both these meetings held Thursday and also vowed, according to sources, that he will not attend any meeting with ministers in the future. He was also conspicuous by his absence in the sub-committee meet on regularisation of contractual employees.

The pre-Cabinet meetings were called by CM Amarinder Singh to build a consensus on sixth Pay Commission. The CM physically met his Cabinet ministers in two batches at his official residence in Sector 2, with Kumar absent.

Sarkaria and Randhawa, are learnt to have told the Chief Minister’s Secretary M P Singh on Wednesday that they would not attend the pre Cabinet meeting if it would be attended by Kumar and they would stage a walk out. It is learnt that Kumar sent a message to Sarkaria that he should attend the meeting and that he would not attend any meeting in the future.

Sakaria and Kumar had had a verbal spat recently. Ever since, Sarkaria has been against the retired IAS officer and is learnt to have complained to the Kharge panel that bureaucrats were ruling the roost in the state and the political class was ignored. Sarkaria, who was once considered close to the CM, is siding now with the rebel ministers.

Amarinder met Sarkaria, Sukhjinder Randhawa and Charanjeet Channi and a few others in the first meeting. The second meeting included Rana Gurmeet Sodhi, Vijayinder Singla, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, OP Soni, Aruna Chaudhary and Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and others. Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal was present in both the meetings.

Finance Secretary KAP Sinha gave a presentation to the ministers. It was decided that the recommendations of the Pay Commission would be implemented and the employees will be given a raise in salary. The arrears, to be given from January 1, 2016, to the tune of Rs 13,000 crore would be given in two instalments of Rs 1500 crore every year. The first instalment would be given immediately and the second in November. The Cabinet is likely to give its formal nod to the decision on Friday.

The commission has recommended an over 2-fold increase in salaries of all employees, from January 1, 2016. The government has already paid 5 per cent interim relief to the employees that cost the state exchequer Rs 25,000 crore.

CM, Bajwa truce in works

AMID speculation that Navjot Singh Sidhu may be given an important role in Congress organisation in Punjab, efforts are on to make the CM and Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa bury the hatchet and get back together. The party circles were abuzz of a secret meeting between Amarinder and Bajwa Wednesday. Bajwa denied the reports.

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