Ruchika M Khanna
Chandigarh, June 10
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is looking at expanding the Bhagwant Mann Cabinet after the Budget session. The party is looking at adding four to five ministers in its Council of Ministers.
Council of Ministers
Vacant slots 8
*including CM; one vacated by ex-Health Minister Vijay Singla
Woman, second-time MLAs may get berth
- The expansion may happen in the first week of July, before the polls to elect the President of India are held
- The new ministers will get portfolios from among the 29 departments currently held by the CM
- It is likely one berth will go to a woman MLA and another to a second-time legislator, say sources
More hands on deck
We need more working hands to quickly implement the party promises and showcase it to other states, where we are looking at expanding our base. — Senior AAP leader
The expansion, however, will take place after the Sangrur byelection on June 23, and after the Budget session ends on June 30. Sources say the expansion could happen in the first week of July, before the polls to elect the President of India are held.
With the party going strong on its anti-corruption agenda, the top brass reportedly feels it is time to induct more ministers in the Cabinet now. “We need more working hands to quickly implement the party promises and showcase it to other states, where we are looking at expanding our base,” a senior party leader told The Tribune.
Currently, there are nine ministers in the government, besides Chief Minister Mann. The party can have a Cabinet of 18, including the Chief Minister.
As many as eight ministerial berths are lying vacant, including the one vacated by former Health Minister Dr Vijay Singla.
Sources in the party say the new ministers, to be inducted in the government, will be given portfolios from amongst the departments currently held by the Chief Minister Mann.
Amongst the new ministers to be appointed, it is likely one berth will go to a woman MLA and another to a second-time legislator.
“The party high command feels the Council of Ministers needs to be strengthened by bringing in more experienced hands,” a party leader privy to the developments told The Tribune.
The Chief Minister initially held charge of 27 departments and the Health and Family Welfare, and Medical Education and Research departments went to him after Singla was removed from the Cabinet on corruption charges, and later arrested.
It is likely the Health, Parliamentary Affairs, Local Government, Agriculture, Industry and Investment Promotion departments could be allotted to the ministers to be inducted now.
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