March 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India
Eight more to join Amarinder Cabinet today
Chandigarh, March 9
The oath-taking ceremony for the five ministers will take place at Raj Bhavan tomorrow at 11 am while the parliamentary secretaries will be sworn in at Punjab Bhavan, soon thereafter.
While Mr Harnam Das Johar and Mr Joginder Singh Mann are expected to take oath as Cabinet-rank ministers, Deputy Speaker, Darbari Lal, will probably join as a Minister of State, besides Mr Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi. The three Parliamentary Secretaries are believed to be Mr Kamaljit Singh Lally, Mr Ravinder Singh Sandhu, alias Bubble, and Mr Hans Raj Josan. The slot of Deputy Speaker will be filled later.
With this first expansion after the Congress came to power in February, 2002, the strength of the Council of Ministers will be 26, with 17 Cabinet Ministers, including the Chief Minister, and nine Ministers of State. There will be five Parliamentary Secretaries.
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today kept changing his venue while working on the list of MLAs as well as on the reshuffle of portfolios of the present incumbents. Capt Amarinder Singh is reportedly unhappy with the performance of several ministers and has also received ‘’secret’’ reports about complaints of corruption against some of them. There will be an administrative reshuffle alongside.
After tomorrow’s expansion there will be no representative from at least six districts — Nawanshahr, Bathinda, Faridkot, Mansa, Muktsar and Moga. The new-look ministry will have maximum representation from Jalandhar — four Cabinet Ministers, one Minister of State and two Parliamentary Secretaries, followed by Gurdaspur — two Cabinet Ministers and three Ministers of State. Ludhiana comes next two Cabinet Ministers and two Ministers of State. Patiala has three representatives, including the Chief Minister, out of which only one is a minister of state. Amritsar will have three Cabinet Ministers. Ropar has two Cabinet-rank ministers and the Speaker.
There is one Cabinet Minister each from Hoshiarpur, Sangrur, Kapurthala and Fatehgarh Sahib while, Ferozepore will be represented by only three Parliamentary Secretaries.
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