Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will expand his Cabinet on June 10 to fill three vacant berths. "The Punjab Council of Ministers is being expanded. The three slots lying vacant for some time will be filled on Tuesday," Advisor to the Chief Minister (National Affairs and Media), Harcharan Bains, said today.
The swearing-in is scheduled at the Punjab Raj Bhawan at 10 AM on June 10," he said. The expansion is aimed at further streamlining the functioning of the government, Bains added.
Three berths of the Shiromani Akali Dal quota are lying vacant after the resignations of Jagir Kaur, Tota Singh and Sarwan Singh Phillaur.
While Kaur and Singh are facing legal proceedings, Phillaur resigned recently after his son's name got embroiled in a drug case. At present, the strength of the Cabinet is 15, including the Chief Minister and his Deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal. This will be the first expansion of the Badal government since it came to power for the second time on March 3, 2012.
Earlier, SAD-BJP alliance was in power from 2007 to 2012. Among those whose names are doing the rounds for the Cabinet berths are Hari Singh Zira (Zira MLA), Gurbachan Singh Babehali (Gurdaspur MLA), Sohan Singh Thandal (Chabbewal MLA) and Mohinder Kaur Josh (Sham Chaurasi MLA).
Jagir Kaur was the first to resign as Cabinet minister in March 2012 after she was sentenced to five years in jail for conspiring in forcible abortion and abduction in connection with the killing of her daughter Harpreet Kaur. Tota Singh became the second minister to put in his papers after he was given one-year jail term in May 2012 for misusing his government vehicle. Phillaur resigned recently after his son Damanveer Singh's name got embroiled in the multi-crore synthetic drug racket case.