Chandigarh, March 13 (IANS) As he takes oath as chief minister of Punjab for a record fifth time Wednesday, Parkash Singh Badal will find himself quite at home in his new cabinet – ‘relatively’ speaking!
In the 18-member ministry which will be sworn in Wednesday, Badal and four of his relatives (total five) figure prominently.
While Badal, 84, will take oath as chief minister, his son and Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal, 49, will be sworn in as deputy chief minister.
Badal’s son-in-law Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon, who barely managed to win his assembly seat in the polls by just 59 votes, will also be sworn in as a cabinet minister.
Bikram Singh Majithia, brother-in-law of Sukhbir Singh Badal, too finds a place in the new list of ministers. He is the brother of Badal junior’s wife and Bathinda MP Harsimrat Badal.
Another relative of Badal Sr. in the ministry will be Janmeja Singh Sekhon.
While the Akali Dal has kept 14 slots to itself, four ministerial berths have gone to its alliance partner, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The BJP ministers include Bhagat Chunni Lal, Madan Mohan Mittal, Surjit Kumar Jyani and Anil Joshi.
The ministers in the outgoing Badal government (2007-2012) who have retained their places include Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon, Ajit Singh Kohar, Gulzar Singh Ranike, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Janmeja Singh Sekhon and Surjit Kumar Jyani (BJP).
Seven ministers of the outgoing government had lost in the recent assembly poll.
Senior Akali Dal leaders Sarwan Singh Phillaur, former minister Tota Singh, former Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Jagir Kaur
New faces in the ministry include Anil Joshi (BJP), Surjit Singh Rakhra, who defeated Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh’s son, Raninder Singh, and Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, a former MP of Ludhiana.
Out of the new list of ministers, the names of Tota Singh, Jagir Kaur and Madan Mohan Mittal have figured in various controversies in the past. Jagir Kaur has a case of murder conspiracy of her daughter pending before a CBI court in Patiala.
Kaur is the only woman in the new Badal cabinet.
The Akali Dal won 56 seats in the recent elections to the 117-member assembly. Its alliance partner won 12 seats. The alliance has a majority of 68 members in the house.
The swearing in of the new ministry will take place at the historic Chappar Chiri memorial in Mohali district, 20 km from here, instead of at the Raj Bhawan as is usually the norm.
Badal had taken oath as chief minister in 2007 at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium in front of thousands of supporters.