October 23, 2021

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Rana Gurjit Singh makes it to Punjab cabinet despite opposition from some Congress MLAs

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Rana Gurjit Singh makes it to Punjab cabinet despite opposition from some Congress MLAs
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Rana Gurjit Singh makes it to Punjab cabinet despite opposition from some Congress MLAs
Rana Gurjit Singh makes it to Punjab cabinet despite opposition from some Congress MLAs

NEW DELHI: Despite stiff opposition from a section of Punjab Congress leaders, “tainted” former minister Rana Gurjit Singh was on Sunday inducted into chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi‘s new cabinet.
The induction came hours after some Congress leaders wrote to Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu against Gurjit Singh’s inclusion in the cabinet.
The leaders had demanded that the cabinet berth may instead be filled up “by giving representation to a clean dalit leader”.
The copy of the letter was also sent to the Punjab chief minister.
Rana was among the 15 Congress MLAs inducted into the cabinet on Sunday.
Four ministers, who were a part of the Amarinder Singh-led government, have been dropped from the cabinet.
Rana Gurjit Singh faced flak from the opposition over allegations of impropriety in the auction of sand mining contracts.
He had to resign from the previous Amarinder Singh cabinet in 2018. At that time, he held irrigation and power portfolios.
In their letter to Sidhu, the Congress leaders alleged that Gurjit Singh “is a known corrupt and tainted politician of Doaba”.
The letter was written by Mohinder Singh Kaypee, former PPCC president, MLA Sultanpur Navtej Singh Cheema, MLA Phagwara Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal, Jalandhar North legislator Bawa Henry, Chabbewal legislator Raj Kumar, MLA Sham Churasi, Pawan Adiya and Bholath legislator Sukhpal Singh Khaira.
Khaira had defected from the Aam Aadmi Party and joined Congress recently.
“We the undersigned MLAs and leaders of Doaba wish to convey huge resentment amongst the public and the Congress cadre on the proposed inclusion of tainted Rana Gurjit Singh.
“Needless to mention, he was dropped from the cabinet in January 2018 due to the infamous mining scandal…,” they alleged in the letter while detailing various allegations which were made against Rana Gurjit at that time.
“We wonder why Rana Gurjit Singh is being included in Cabinet as he was dropped in January 2018 because of these charges..,” they wrote.
They also pointed out that despite the Doaba region having approximately 38 percent Dalit population, no representation in the proposed cabinet expansion has been given to a leader from the community.
Among MLAs from Doaba region proposed to be inducted in the cabinet include Pargat Singh and Rana Gurjit Singh.
“It is amusing that all three ministers proposed to be included in the cabinet from Doaba region are Jat Sikhs and one OBC…, whereas there is an approximately 38 percent Dalit population in this region,” they wrote.
“Therefore, we all request you to immediately drop Raja Gurjit Singh from the proposed Cabinet expansion and instead include a clean Dalit face in view of the upcoming elections,” they said in the letter.
Khaira also said that “(By including Rana) we are deliberately giving handle to the opposition to point fingers. By bringing him in cabinet, what impression will it give”.
(With PTI inputs)

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