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BJP names portfolios of its five ministers
Ajay Bannerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The BJP’s high command today finalised the allocation of portfolios for its five ministers in the Parkash Singh Badal-led Cabinet in Punjab. A senior leader told The Tribune over the phone from Delhi that there was no discord with the SAD and a formal announcement on allocation of portfolios will be made soon. A decision on the portfolios for the BJP leaders was taken at a meeting in New Delhi this evening.

Sources said, the BJP has sought the following portfolios: Manoranjan Kalia (local government, industry and trade), Tikshan Sud (transport and parliamentary affairs), Luxmi Kanta Chawla (health and family welfare), Swarna Ram (social welfare industrial and technical training) and Master Mohan Lal (forest, wildlife, labour and medical education and research).




Urban sticking point
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Why the announcing of portfolios is being delayed? If insiders in the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janta Party are to be trusted, the bone of contention has been the Department of Urban Development. “There is no dispute or misunderstanding over any other department. The BJP is insisting on urban development without realising that under the new Urban Development Act, which governs the functioning of PUDA and Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), the Chief Minister is the ex-officio chairman as well as the minister of the department,” reveals a senior leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal.

The argument given by the BJP leadership, however, is that urban development should remain a part of the local bodies as municipal corporations, committees, improvement trusts and other such civic bodies are directly associated with urban development and control.

The SAD leaders maintain that there is no dispute, whatsoever, with the BJP over allocation of other departments. In return for urban development some other department could be given to the latter. Insiders, however, maintain that the problem is not with the BJP but within the SAD and perhaps among the top few who are close to the Chief Minister, which is the second reason for delay in announcement of portfolios. Most of these leaders represent the Majha belt where the SAD recorded resounding wins.

Some of the senior leaders reportedly spoke to the Chief Minister this evening, urging him not to delay any further the announcement of portfolios as it was sending wrong signals everywhere.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister left for Bhaini Sahib in the afternoon and is scheduled to make a halt on his way to Beas tomorrow, where the postponed election to the Beas Assembly constituency is scheduled for March 11.



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