Ten AAP MLAs sworn in as ministers in Punjab cabinet
Ten MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took oath as cabinet ministers in the newly-elected Punjab government induction ceremony on Saturday. Governor Banwari Lal Purohit administered the oath to the ministers at the swearing-in ceremony held in Chandigarh. Among them, only two, Harpal Cheema and Meet Hayer are two-term MLAs, while the other eight are first-time MLAs.
- AAP's Bhagwant Mann was sworn in as the Punjab Chief Minister on March 16 at a mega ceremony in Khatkar Kalan, Bhagat Singh's ancestral village.
- The names of the Cabinet members were finalized after a series of discussions between CM Bhagwant Mann and AAP's senior brass in Delhi.
- However, it is the CM's choice that has prevailed over the party's management, as per reports.
Harpal Cheema (Dirba), Dr. Baljit Kaur (Malout), Harbhajan Singh ETO (Jandiala) Dr. Vijay Singla (Mansa), Lal Chand Kataruchak (Bhoa), Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer (Barnala), Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal (Ajnala), Laljit Singh Bhullar (Patti), Brahm Shankar (Hoshiarpur) and Harjot Singh Bains (Anandpur Sahib) have been sworn-in as Cabinet ministers in Punjab. Kotkapura MLA Kultar Singh Sandhwan has been appointed as the Speaker of the Punjab Assembly.
Interestingly, Sunam MLA Aman Arora, who won the election by the widest margin has not been appointed as a minister. Out of 10 ministers, five represent the Malwa region, four represent the Majha, and one represents the Doaba region. Two cabinet ministers are also doctors.
The cabinet list of the Punjab government did not include any of the giant-killers who defeated prominent figures in the recently concluded Punjab elections. As per a News18 report, the decision was made because these lawmakers were new to politics and before allotting any ministerial berths, the party wants them to first gain some prior political experience.
In the first meeting of the cabinet which is scheduled immediately after the ceremony, important poll promises are expected to be discussed while bringing a Vote on Account budget and a new excise policy. AAP has promised to provide a clean government that will improve government schools and hospitals, create job opportunities, provide free electricity up to 300 units, combat Punjab's drug menace, etc.
The AAP won 92 seats in the recently concluded Punjab Assembly elections, knocking most of its opponents to the edges. Congress won 18 seats in the 117-member Assembly. The Punjab elections were thought to be a fierce multi-cornered battle. However, all of Punjab's political heavyweights in Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Congress contesting against AAP were decimated.