The new Punjab cabinet, led by Captain Amarinder Singh, will have a healthy mix of youth, caste and women representation.
The 75-five-year-old Patiala royal Captain Amarinder will be taking oath along with his tidy eight member-cabinet on Thursday .
Buoyed by its unexpected performance in Malwa region, where Congress won 40 out of 69 seats, four of the region’s MLAs -Manpreet Badal, Razia Sultana, Charanjit Channi and Brahm Mohindra -have made it to the list of probables.
Apart from Amritsar East MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was strategically inducted into Congress by vice-president Rahul Gandhi days before the polls, Majha region will have a fair share of representation with Amarinder confidant Tripat Bajwa and Dina Nagar MLA Aruna Chouhdary getting berths. Congress is still maintaining a studied silence on giving deputy chief minister’s post to Sidhu.
The cabinet has a visible Rahul Gandhi stamp with Mohindra, Channi, Sidhu and Manpreet, all of them close to him, figuring in the list. Manpreet, who like Amarinder is an alumnus of prestigious Doon School, played a significant role in drafting the 100-page Congress manifesto that remained one of the most talked aboutpoints of the party’s campaign.
By giving berths to Aruna from Dina Nagar and Sultana from Malerkotla, Amarinder has fulfilled his promise of fair representation to women. The party has also ensured a caste balance in the cabinet: Aruna is a Dalit and Sultana a Muslim. Experience has also played a role, as Mohindra is a six-time MLA and a former minister in the 1992 1997 Congress. Both Manpreet and Bajwa are four-time MLAs. Punjab’s richest MLA, Rana Gurjit from Kapurthala, has been given preference over other MLAs from Doaba.
With the induction of Channi, who recently served as Congress leader of Opposition, Congress has also ensured another Dalit in the cabinet. Those who have missed the bus despite having good experience and vote margin are fivetime MLAs O P Soni (Amritsar Central) and Sadhu Singh Dharamsot (Nabha) and four-time MLAs Amrik Dhillon, Randeep Nabha (Amloh) and Rana Sodhi (Guru Har Sahai). Rana K P will be the Speaker of the new Vidhan Sabha.
14 Dec 2018
15 Dec 2018