M A I N   N E W S

Tota gets agri portfolio, Cheema education
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who took more than 24 hours to decide about the portfolios of three new ministers and to effect change in the work profile of certain other ministers, has divested Sikander Singh Maluka of Education portfolio and Bikram Singh Majithia of NRI Affairs.

Maluka, who had a troubled tenure as an Education Minister, has got an important portfolio of the Rural Development and Panchayats Minister. Interestingly, even here he will be looking after the affairs of more than 5,700 primary schools and also hundreds of village dispensaries.

Majithia, who was a campaign in charge of the Union Minister Arun Jaitley who faced a drubbing in the Amritsar constituency during the recent Lok Sabha elections, appears to have failed to win over the support of NRIs. Majority of the NRIs supported the AAP in the elections.

Badal is keen to rework his government’s strategy towards NRIs to win their confidence. Majithia faced allegations of involvement in the drug business, which he has continued to deny vehemently.

Jathedar Tota Singh has been given Agriculture, a portfolio he has demanded from Badal. He was Agriculture Minister earlier also. He had refused to take Education, it is learnt.

Surjit Singh Rakhra, who earlier held the important portfolio of the Rural Development and Panchayats Minister, has now got a less significant portfolio of Water Supply and Sanitation, besides Higher Education and Languages. It appears the SAD, which faced a strong opposition in rural areas in the LS elections, wants to reinvigorate this department to regain its position in the rural belt.

The Education Department which continued to be burdened with one scam after another, particularly last year, has got a breather with the appointment of Dr Daljit Singh Cheema. The party guard against the Opposition in his capacity as the spokesperson definitely filled the bill for the job which had no takers. Tota Singh, a former Education Minister, is learnt to have communicated his big “No” to the Chief Minister as well for the ministry.

Janmeja Singh Sekhon, who earlier held the portfolio of Irrigation Minister has been shifted to PWD, Defence Services Welfare, Removal of Grievances and Welfare of Pensioners and Sharanjeet Singh Dhillon has been shifted from the PWD (B&R) to the Irrigation. Sohan Singh Thandal, who has joined in place of Sarwan Singh Philaur, who resigned recently, has been given Jails, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Archives and Museums and Printing and Stationary.

Carrying the bulk of load of ministries along with his son, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, the Chief Minister has retained Personnel, General Administration, Cooperation, Science and Technology and Environment and Vigilance. Besides, he has taken Civil Aviation which was earlier with Sukhbir.

Power, which was earlier with the CM, has now gone to Sukhbir. The Deputy Chief Minister keeps his earlier portfolios, including Home, Governance Reforms, Housing and Urban Development, Excise and Taxation, Investment Promotion, Sports and Youth Services Welfare and Power. Majithia retained Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management, Information Technology, Public Relations and Non-Conventional Energy.

No woman in Cabinet

Despite repeated claims by the state government of giving equal rights to women, the Chief Minister has not incorporated even a single woman in the Cabinet. Out of six women SAD MLAs, Mohinder Kaur Josh, Sham Chaurasi MLA, lost out in the race to a berth to Sohan Singh Thandal. Even the ally BJP which has two women MLAs does not find any representation in the Cabinet.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |