New Delhi: Ten Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs will be sworn in as Ministers in Bhagwant Mann-led Punjab Cabinet today (March 19, 2022). The oath-taking ceremony will be held around 11 am at Punjab Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh.
The leaders who will become a part of the Bhagwant Mann’s 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 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 tweeted while announcing the cabinet on Friday.
पंजाब का नया मंत्रिमंडल कल शपथ ग्रहण करेगा। पंजाब की AAP सरकार में होने वाले सभी मंत्रियों को बहुत-बहुत शुभकामनाएँ।
पंजाब की जनता ने हम सबको बहुत बड़ी ज़िम्मेदारी दी है, हमें दिन-रात मेहनत कर लोगों की सेवा करनी है, पंजाब को एक ईमानदार सरकार देनी है। हमें रंगला पंजाब बनाना है। pic.twitter.com/Z5wDmD9Zpg
— Bhagwant Mann (@BhagwantMann) March 18, 2022
It is notable that there are 18 berths in the cabinet, including the chief minister.
Who are 10 AAP MLAs who will be sworn in as Ministers in Bhagwant Mann-led Punjab Cabinet today?
Of the ten, five MLAs represent the 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.
Harpal Singh Cheema
The ministers to be inducted include Harpal Singh Cheema, a two-time legislator from Dirba and the party’s Dalit face. 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 the welfare of SCs, STs and BCs. He was also the Leader of the Opposition in the previous Assembly.
The lone woman who found ministerial berth is Dr Baljit Kaur, who won from Malout. Kaur, 46, is an eye surgeon and is the daughter of Sadhu Singh, who remained an AAP MP from Faridkot from 2014 to 2019. She joined the Arvind Kejriwal-led party 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 the Muktsar district.
Harbhajan Singh won from Jandiala after defeating Punjab Congress working president Sukhwinder Singh Danny. Harbhajan had unsuccessfully contested from the seat in 2017
Dr Vijay Singla, 52, won from Mansa, where he defeated popular Punjabi singer and Congress candidate Shubhdeep Singh, also called Sidhu Moosewala, by a margin of 63,323 votes. Singla is a dentist and did Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Punjabi University, Patiala.
Lal Chand Kataruchakk
Lal Chand Kataruchakk, who was president of AAP’s SC wing, won from the Bhoa seat in Pathankot. He trounced Congress candidate Joginder Pal.
Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer
Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer, who is a two-time Barnala MLA, will also find a berth in the Mann-led cabinet. He had defeated SAD nominee Kulwant Singh Keetu by a margin of 37,622 votes from Barnala seat. He is also the president of the AAP’s youth wing.
Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal
Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal was elected MLA from Ajnala. He defeated SAD candidate Amarpal Singh. Dhaliwal had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Amritsar. In the late 1990s, he had joined Congress but quit politics and moved to the US. He returned a couple of years ago and rejoined the Congress. Before joining AAP, he was member of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC). He was also the chairman of the Punjab State Subordinate Services Selection Board.
Laljit Singh Bhullar
Laljit Singh Bhullar has become an MLA from the Patti seat and had defeated political stalwart Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, who is the son-in-law of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. Bhullar had joined AAP in 2019.
Bram Shanker Jimpa
Bram Shanker Jimpa has been elected from the Hoshiarpur seat. He defeated former minister and Congress nominee Sunder Sham Arora. Jimpa is an industrialist by profession and is a social figure in the area.
Harjot Bains has been elected from the Anandpur Sahib constituency and defeated former speaker and Congress candidate Rana KP Singh. Bains is a lawyer by profession and had unsuccessfully contested from Sahnewal in 2017. Bains is also a former president of AAP’s youth wing.
Meanwhile, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party has also decided to nominate Kultar Singh Sandhwan as Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
Earlier on March 16, Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit had administered the oath of office and secrecy to Bhagwant Mann in a ceremony at Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of Bhagat Singh.
AAP romped home with 92 seats in the 117-member Punjab assembly, decimating the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bahujan Samaj Party combine.
(With agency inputs)