The proposed rejig of the Punjab Cabinet by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has hit a bump as the Congress high command is said to be “not in favour” of the re-induction of former minister Rana Gurjit Singh.
Rana Gurjit Singh, former irrigation and power minister, who had to resign after getting involved in a sand mining row in January 2018, is among the frontrunners to be inducted in the Cabinet. A berth has been lying vacant after cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu resigned from it in July.
Sources said the CM had written to AICC president Sonia Gandhi about the possible rejig and reinduction of Rana Gurjit Singh but she was not in favour of the same and felt his reinduction would create “unnecessary controversy”.
“For now, her negative response has put the brakes on the matter. But one never knows. When the chief minister had divested Sidhu of the local bodies department citing non-performance, he had not sought anyone’s permission. He can always bulldoze his way through. Also, he is the chief minister. Any induction or rejig is his prerogative,” a source close to Amarinder said.
The source also said that besides Rana Gurjit, there were many other aspirants who wanted to be inducted in the Cabinet and were in touch with the high command consistently. Rana Gurjit too has been maintaining a studied silence. Sources close to him said the CM was willing to take him on board, adding that had been funding the office of Congress when Amarinder was the PPCC president.
Gurjit had to lose his berth when he was embroiled in a controversy over his ex-employees bagging sand mines and Rs 5 crore from the bank account of Rs 1000 crore irrigation scam kingpin Gurinder Singh making its way into the sand mining account of his ex-employees to pay for the sand mines. After the transaction of Rs 5 crore came out in black and white, he had to resign on moral grounds.
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