Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi kept power, justice and excise among 14 portfolios as ministries were allocated on Tuesday. While deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa was given home affairs, cooperation and jails, Channi’s second deputy Om Parkash Soni was allocated health and family welfare, defence services welfare and freedom fighters.
Channi had carried out his first cabinet expansion on Sunday, inducting 15 Cabinet Ministers which included seven new entrants, as the Congress gears up to face assembly elections that are barely five months away. The new faces in the Channi Ministry are Randeep Singh Nabha, Raj Kumar Verka, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Pargat Singh, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring and Gurkirat Singh Kotli.
Rana Gurjit Singh has made a comeback after resigning in 2018 from the Amrinder Singh Ministry. Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered the oath of office and secrecy to the legislators.
Brahm Mohindra, Manpreet Singh Badal, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Aruna Chaudhary, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Razia Sultana, Vijay Inder Singla and Bharat Bhushan Ashu, who were ministers in the previous Amarinder Singh led cabinet, were retained as Cabinet Ministers. Channi was handpicked as Punjab’s first Dalit chief minister following the unceremonious exit of Congress veteran Amarinder Singh after a prolonged power tussle with state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Ministers Rana Gurjit Singh, Mohindra and Singla are considered close to Amarinder Singh. However, the discontent in the faction-ridden party appeared to be far from over.
Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Gurpreet Singh Kangar and Sunder Sham Arora, who were ministers in the Amarinder Singh-led cabinet, did not find a place in the new ministry. Hours before the ceremony, Balbir Singh Sidhu and Gurpreet Singh Kangar held a joint news conference where they questioned the decision to drop them.