Ruchika M Khanna
Chandigarh, May 31
Balkar Singh and Gurmeet Singh Khudian were sworn in as ministers in the Bhagwant Mann cabinet on Wednesday.
Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered the oath to them.
A cabinet reshuffle has also been effected by the Chief Minister, wherein Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal has been divested of both his key departments of agriculture and rural development.
मेरी टीम के नए साथियों को नई ज़िम्मेदारी मुबारक हो...उम्मीद है कि ईमानदारी से लोगों की उम्मीदों के मुताबिक अपना फर्ज़ निभाएंगे... pic.twitter.com/3zxwntJWtI— Bhagwant Mann (@BhagwantMann) May 31, 2023
While newly-inducted minister Gurmeet Singh Khudian has been given the agriculture department, rural development department has been given to Transport Minister Laljit Singh Bhullar.
While Dr Inderbir Singh Nijjar had “resigned” on Tuesday, minister Dhaliwal, too, seems to have been cut to size. He now has only NRI Affairs and Administrative Reforms departments.
Balkar Singh, brought into the cabinet as a reward for helping the ruling Aam Aadmi Party win the crucial Jalandhar by-election, has been given the Local Government department. With the elections to the local bodies due later this year, a lot of policymaking and “management” is done by the Local Government department.
Khudian, considered a giant slayer for defeating five-time chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, has been given the agriculture department at a time when the ruling party is busy consolidating the rural votes for the zila parishad and panchayat elections, also due this year. He also gets animal husbandry, dairy and food processing departments.
With the cabinet expansion - the third in the 15-month-rule of AAP - the Punjab Council of ministers has 16 ministers, including the CM. Two berths in the cabinet are still lying vacant.
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