Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 3
A move by six Punjab ministers led by Sukhjinder Randhawa and Charanjit Channi to boycott Wednesday's virtual Cabinet meeting backfired as other ministers refused to toe the line, seen as a mark of protest against Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
Ministers Randhawa, Channi, Sukhbinder Sarkaria, Tript Rajinder Bajwa and Gurpreet Kangar, camping at Punjab Bhavan in New Delhi, wanted to send across a message to the party high command and the three-member AICC panel (hearing Punjab Congress leaders over the infighting issue) that the Cabinet was not with Capt Amarinder. The timing of the move was significant as the Chief Minister is scheduled to appear before the panel on Thursday.
The "boycott" fizzled out following disagreement among the ministers present in Delhi as some of them refused to be party to the move.
The rationale for attending the meeting was given that since the panel led by Rajya Sabha MP Mallikarjun Kharge was in advanced stage of hearing Punjab leaders, there was no point in creating unnecessary hype against the Chief Minister as it could backfire and signify that the dissident ministers did not have faith in the party high command.
After confirming to the Chief Minister's office that they would be attending the meeting from Delhi, arrangement was made for the same. Six other ministers, Brahm Mohindra, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Sunder Sham Arora, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Manpreet Badal and Razia Sultana, attended the meeting from Chandigarh.
Sources said before the start of the meeting, the annoyed group of six ministers led by Randhawa and Channi persuaded their fellow colleagues to boycott the meeting, confirmed a minister from the Malwa region who was present there. But a few ministers, including Aruna Chaudhary, did not agree to the boycott move and the move fizzled out.
As the preparation for the meeting was going on in Tript Bajwa’s room, Vijay Inder Singla came to the room with a message from the Chief Minister asking the ministers to join the meeting. The disgruntled ministers soon joined the meeting.
Since the ministers were conveyed in the morning that only a two-point agenda was being taken up, the Cabinet meeting was wrapped up in half an hour as the three-member committee was hearing out Punjab ministers, said a senior government functionary.
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