Punjab cabinet expansion: 7 Congress leaders write to Navjot Sidhu against inclusion of ‘tainted’ Rana Gurjit Singh

New Delhi: Just a few hours ahead of the expansion of Charanjit Singh Channi’s cabinet, a bunch of Congress leaders on Sunday (September 26) expressed displeasure over possible inclusion of the name of ‘tainted’ former minister Rana Gurjit Singh. 

The letter which was sent to Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi asked to give representation to a ‘clean Dalit leader’ in the cabinet, PTI reported. Seven Congress leaders including a former PPCC chief wrote to Sidhu demanding not to include Rana Gurjit Singh in Channi’s cabinet. 

These leaders included 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. 

Speaking to reporters, Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira said, “Party is going to create a big blunder with his (Rana Gurjeet Singh’s) proposed appointment as a minister. We’ll talk regarding this with our state party president (Navjot Singh Sindhu).” 

Mentioning the allegations against Rana Gurjit Singh due to which he resigned from Amarinder Singh’s cabinet in 2018, the letter read, “Needless to mention, he was dropped from the cabinet in January 2018 due to the infamous mining scandal.”

“We wonder why Rana Gurjit Singh is being included in Cabinet as he was dropped in January 2018 because of these charges,” the Congress leaders asked. 

As per PTI sources, seven new faces are likely to be inducted in the Punjab cabinet while five ministers, who were part of the Amarinder Singh-led government, are likely to be dropped. Pargat Singh, Raj Kumar Verka, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, Kuljit Nagra and Rana Gurjit Singh are expected to become part of Channi’s cabinet.  The official list is yet to be declared. 

The disgruntled Congress leaders 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.

“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 said in the letter. 

“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 demanded. 

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