CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Cabinet has been expanded for the fourth time today. Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has inducted former DCP Balkar Singh, MLA from Kartarpur and Gurmeet Singh Khudian, MLA from Lambi, in his cabinet.
Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered the oath of office and secrecy to the two new ministers at the Raj Bhavan. Balkar Singh is the second minister from Doaba region after Brahm Shankar Jimpa.
1. Gurmeet Singh Khudian
- Agriculture and farmer welfare
- Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries
- Food processing
2. Balkar Singh
- Local Governments
- Parliamentary affairs
3. Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal
- NRI Affairs
- Administrative Reform
3. Laljit Singh Bhullar
- Department of Transport
- Rural Development and Panchayat Department
5. Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer
- Water resources
- Mines and Geology
- Sports and youth services
- Department of Science, Technology and Environment
- Department of Land and Water Conservation
On Tuesday, Local Government Minister Inderbir Singh Nijjar submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann citing personal reasons. The resignation was sent by the Chief Minister to the Governor for further approval. After accepting the resignation, time was sought from the Governor to administer oath to the new ministers.
Nijjar is the third minister in 15 months since the Aam Aadmi Party came to power in Punjab to resign or lose his seat. Earlier, Dr. Vijay Singla and Fauja Singh Sarari have been removed from the cabinet. Kartarpur MLA Balkar Singh, who came out of the Raj Bhavan after taking oath as a cabinet minister, said that he has been serving the people before and will continue to serve the people even after becoming a minister.
He said that the people of Jalandhar have given full support to the party. He said that the Chief Minister of the state Bhagwant Mann has given him an opportunity to serve and he will live up to his expectations. Kartarpur MLA Balkar Singh has also been honored for his excellent work in the Jalandhar Lok Sabha by-election.
Gurmeet Singh Khudian, MLA from Lambi, defeated the 5-time Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal by thrashing the Shiromani Akali Dal fort and won the post of minister. Khudian created history by making the impossible possible by defeating Shiromani Akali Dal patron and former Chief Minister Badal from his own home constituency of Lambi.
According to the Cabinet norms, Punjab can have 18 ministers including the Chief Minister in terms of seats but at present there are 15 Cabinet Ministers including Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann. Even now, despite the resignation of Minister Nijjar and the joining of two ministers in the cabinet, the posts of 2 ministers will remain vacant. The government can fill them after the Lok Sabha elections next year.