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Newsmaker | V-C row: Health Minister Jouramajra first-time MLA, picked from 10 doctor MLAs by AAP

Aam Aadmi Party’s decision to pick Chetan Singh Jouramajra, a Class 12 pass, as health minister had come as a surprise as there were 10 party MLAs who were doctors

Chetan Singh Jouramajra (Facebook/Chetan Singh Jouramajra)

Punjab Health Minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra, who is in the eye of a storm after he forced Dr Raj Bahadur, the vice-chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) in Faridkot district who has since resigned, to lie down on a damaged mattress during an inspection on Friday, is no stranger to controversy.

A first-time MLA from Samana constituency of Patiala, Jouramajra, 55, was inducted into the Punjab Cabinet on July 4 and was given the portfolios of health and family welfare, medical education and research, and given charge of elections. The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) decision to pick Jouramajra, a Class 12 pass, as health minister had come as a surprise as there were 10 party MLAs who were doctors.

Dr Inderbir Singh Nijjer, an Amritsar-based radiologist, was also inducted into the Bhagwant Mann Cabinet on July 4, but he was given the portfolio of local bodies minister, much to the shock of his supporters who were expecting that a doctor would be named the health minister of Punjab.

In March, two doctors were part of the AAP Cabinet: Dr Baljeet Kaur, an opthalmologist who is the social security minister, and Dr Vijay Singla, a dentist who was the health minister. However, Singla was sacked in May on charges of corruption.

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Following the incident at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital (GGSMCH) in Faridkot on Friday, the decision to pick Jouramajra as health minister is once again being questioned.

Jouramajra is the founder-member of AAP in Punjab. He was a part of social activist Anna Hazare’s movement against corruption and that is how, party sources say, he came in contact with AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal.

In March 2019, Jouramajra grabbed headlines when he was shot at by some unidentified people who were trying to kidnap a girl in Tarn Taran. Jouramajra had foiled the kidnapping attempt but his act came at a price: he got shot in the neck in the incident and it took him about eight months to recover.

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Kejriwal had highlighted this matter and had even visited Punjab to enquire about Jouramajra’s health. AAP had even asked him to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, sources revealed, but Jouramajra had refused, citing his poor health.

He had, however, sought an AAP ticket from Samana in 2017 during the Vidhan Sabha polls, but was denied.

While Jouramajra was made president of AAP’s rural wing of Patiala in 2020, in his electoral debut early this year, he defeated SAD heavyweight candidate Surjit Singh Rakhra by a massive margin of 39,713 votes in the state Assembly polls. Sitting Congress MLA Rajinder Singh was pushed to third spot in the polls.

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A farmer by profession, Jouramajra had declared assets and liabilities worth Rs 1.22 crore and Rs 6 lakh, respectively, in his election affidavit.

Jouramajra’s induction into the Mann Cabinet had come as a surprise for some local residents in his constituency who had alleged that he was not accessible, either in person or over the phone, after his election.

First published on: 30-07-2022 at 13:36 IST
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