M A I N   N E W S

Bhattal divested of Agriculture
Amarinder keeps 18 portfolios
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
While allocating the portfolios afresh, after downsizing the Council of Ministers, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has changed the portfolios of the Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. She has been given Higher Education and Languages, Medical Education and Research and Technical Education.

Earlier, she has been holding two most important portfolios of Rural Development and Panchayats and Agriculture. Now Agriculture has been taken by the Chief Minister himself and the Rural Development and Panchayats have gone to Mr Lal Singh, who is known as backroom “political crisis manager” of Capt Amarinder Singh.

The Chief Minister himself has kept as many as 18 portfolios, including the most important Home Department, Personnel and General Administration, Agriculture,Vigilance, Industries and Commerce, Power, Agriculture and Information and Public Relations.

The consolation for Mrs Bhattal is that she has been successful to retain her designation as Deputy Chief Minister. Since the downsizing of the Ministry on July 7, an open tussle has been going on between Capt Amarinder Singh and Mrs Bhattal over her designation as Deputy CM.

Capt Amarinder Singh was keen to withdraw her designation. The matter went to the party high command, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, who resolved the issue by giving a free hand to the Chief Minister to change Mrs Bhattal’s portfolios.

From the list of portfolios released here this evening, it is clear that the Chief Minister had his way in the allocation of various departments to the ministers. The CM has rewarded his loyalists with the best departments while others, who have been needling him from time to time, have been given, which are called “left-over departments”.

The Department of Sports and Youth Services Welfare has been taken from Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, who is in a dissident camp. This department will now be with the Chief Minister. Mr Avtar Henry, who was earlier holding the Department of Food and Supply, has now been given Irrigation and Public Health. Mr Jasjit Singh, who has been elevated from Minister of State to Cabinet rank, has got the Cooperation and Horticulture Departments.

As expected, Mr Surinder Singla has got the Finance Department. School Education has been given to Mr Harnam Dass Johar. Mrs Gurkanwal Kaur, a fresh face in the Council of Ministers, has got the Welfare of SCs, BCs, Social Security and Development of Women and Children.

Mr Hans Raj Joshan, who has been elevated from the rank of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of state, has been given Forest Department. Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, who has been upgraded as Cabinet Minister from Minister of State has been allocated the portfolio of Revenue and Rehabilitation, Relief and Resettlement and NRIs. No other major changes have been made in the portfolios of other departments.

The following is the list of ministers and portfolios held by them:

Capt Amarinder Singh (Chief Minister): Personnel, General Administration, Home Affairs, Justice and Jails, Sports and Youth Services Welfare, Legal and Legislative Affairs, Vigilance, Power, Wildlife, Information and Public Relations, Agriculture, Defence Services Welfare, Removal of Grievances and Welfare of Pensioners, Programme Implementation, Civil Aviation, Information Technology, Industries and Commerce, Environment and all other departments not specifically allotted to any other minister.

Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal( Deputy Chief Minister): Medical Education and Research, Higher Education and Languages; Technical Education.

Cabinet Minister

Choudhary Jagjit Singh: Local Bodies, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour and Employment and Elections.

Lal Singh: Rural Development and Panchayats; Food and Supplies.

Partap Singh Bajwa: PWD( B and R) and Cultural Affairs, Archives and Museums.

Romesh Chander Dogra: Health and Family Welfare.

Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri: Housing and Urban Development.

Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang: Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Dairy Development and Tourism.

Mr Sardool Singh: Excise and Taxation and Printing and Stationery.

Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee: Transport.

Mr Avtar Henry: Irrigation and Public Health.

Mr Harnam Dass Johar: School Education.

Mr Surinder Singla: Finance and Planning and Institutional Finance and Banking.

Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa: Cooperation and Horticulture.

Mr Amarjit Singh Samra: Revenue and Rehabilitation; Relief and Resettlement and NRIs.

Ministers of State:

Mr Rakesh Pandey: Science and Technology, Industrial Training.

Mr Hans Raj Joshan: Forests..

Mrs Gurkanwal Kaur : Welfare of SCs, BCs, Social Security and Development of Women and Children.

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