- Ten MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party will take oath as Ministers in Punjab today
- Among the 10 ministers, eight are first-time MLAs
- Punjab’s newly-elected MLAs including CM Mann took oath as members of Legislative Assembly on Mar 17
Ten MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will take oath as Ministers in Bhagwant Mann-led Punjab Cabinet at a swearing-in ceremony in Chandigarh on Saturday (March 19).
The leaders who will become a part of the cabinet are Harpal Singh Cheema, Baljit Kaur, Harbhajan Singh ETO, Vijay Singla, Lal Chand Kataruchak, Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer, Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, Laljit Singh Bhullar, Bram Shanker and Harjot Singh Bains.
The swearing-in-ceremony will take place at around 11:00 am in Punjab Raj Bhawan today.
Ten ministers, including a woman, will be inducted in the Bhagwant Mann government in Punjab today. Among the 10 ministers, eight are first-time MLAs.
“The new cabinet of Punjab will take oath tomorrow. Many, many congratulations to all the ministers who will be in the AAP government of Punjab. The people of Punjab have given a big responsibility to all of us. We have to serve the people by working hard day and night, and give them an honest government. We have to make Rangla Punjab,” Mann had said in a tweet while announcing the cabinet on Friday.
Earlier, on March 17, Punjab’s newly-elected MLAs including Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann took oath as members of the Legislative Assembly.
The legislators were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Protem Speaker Dr Inderbir Singh Nijjar. AAP leader and the party’s face for recently held Punjab assembly polls took oath as the Chief Minister of the state on March 16.
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also decided to nominate Kultar Singh Sandhwan as Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
After their oath-taking, the newly inducted ministers will assume charge in the Punjab Civil Secretariat and the first cabinet meeting of the AAP government will be held in the afternoon, sources said.
There are 18 berths in the cabinet, including the chief minister. Of the ten, five MLAs represent Malwa region, four Majha and one legislator is from Doaba.
Four MLAs who will be sworn-in as ministers represent reserve constituencies- Dirba, Jandiala, Malout and Bhoa.
The ministers to be inducted include Harpal Singh Cheema, second-time legislator from Dirba and the party’s Dalit face. He was also the Leader of the Opposition in the previous Assembly.
Two-time Barnala MLA Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer will also find a berth in the Mann-led cabinet.
Other MLAs to be inducted in the cabinet are Dr Baljit Kaur, Harbhajan Singh from Jandiala, Dr Vijay Singla from Mansa, Lal Chand from Bhoa, Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal from Ajnala, Laljit Singh Bhullar from Patti, Brahm Shanker from Hoshiarpur and Harjot Bains from Anandpur Sahib.
Cheema, an advocate by profession, had defeated Shiromani Akali Dal’s Gulzar Singh Moonak by a margin of 50,655 votes.
He was first elected as an MLA in 2017 and also served as a member of the Assembly committee on welfare of SCs, STs and BCs.
Meet Hayer, president of the AAP’s youth wing, defeated SAD nominee Kulwant Singh Keetu by a margin of 37,622 votes from Barnala seat.
The lone woman who found ministerial berth is Dr Baljit Kaur, who won from Malout.
An eye surgeon, 46, she is the daughter of Sadhu Singh, who remained an AAP MP from Faridkot from 2014 to 2019.
She joined AAP after resigning from her government job at the Muktsar civil hospital. During election meetings, she had even examined eye patients.
Kaur defeated SAD nominee Harpreet Singh by 40,261 votes from Malout in Muktsar district.
Dr Vijay Singla, 52, won from Mansa, where he defeated popular Punjabi singer and Congress candidate Shubhdeep Singh, also called Sidhu Moosewala, by a huge margin of 63,323 votes.
Singla is a dentist and did Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Punjabi University, Patiala.
Harjot Bains has been elected from Anandpur Sahib constituency. He defeated former speaker and Congress candidate Rana K P Singh.
Bains, a lawyer by profession, had unsuccessfully contested from Sahnewal in 2017. Bains is a former president of the party’s youth wing.
Laljit Singh Bhullar became MLA from Patti seat. He defeated political stalwart Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, who is the son-in-law of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. Bhullar joined AAP in 2019.
Harbhajan Singh won from Jandiala after defeating Punjab Congress working president Sukhwinder Singh Danny.
Harbhajan had unsuccessfully contested from the seat in 2017. Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal was elected MLA from Ajnala. He defeated SAD candidate Amarpal Singh. Dhaliwal had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Amritsar.
Lal Chand Kataruchakk, who was president of the party’s SC wing, won from Bhoa seat in Pathankot. He trounced Congress candidate Joginder Pal.
Bram Shanker Jimpa has been elected from Hoshiarpur seat. He defeated former minister and Congress nominee Sunder Sham Arora.
Earlier, the names of Aman Arora, Baljinder Kaur and Sarvjit Kaur Manuke, who are two-time AAP MLAs, were also doing the rounds for ministerial berths.
Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit had on Wednesday administered the oath of office and secrecy to Bhagwant Mann in a ceremony at Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.
The AAP recorded a thumping win by claiming 92 of the Assembly’s 117 seats. The ruling Congress won 18, down from 77 in 2017.
(With agencies inputs)