NEWLY INDUCTED PUNJAB MINISTERS SWORN-IN, ARUNA & RAZIA ALSO TAKE OATH AS CABINET MINISTERS

 Chandigarh, April 21: The nine newly inducted Punjab cabinet ministers were on Saturday administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor V.P. Singh Badnore, along with the two Ministers of State who have also been elevated to the Cabinet rank.

The simple swearing-in ceremony at the Raj Bhavan took place in the presence of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and several other dignitaries, including senior Congress leaders Harish Chaudhary and Asha Kumari, as well as Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar. Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh conducted the proceedings of the swearing-in ceremony.

The new ministers who took oath today were Om Parkash Soni (MLA from Amritsar Central), Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi (MLA from Guru Har Sahai), Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa (MLA from Dera Baba Nanak), Gurpreet Singh Kangar (MLA from Rampura Phul), Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria (MLA from Raja Sansi), Balbir Singh Sidhu (MLA from SAS Nagar, Mohali), Vijay Inder Singla (MLA from Sangrur), Sunder Sham Arora (MLA from Hoshiarpur) and Bharat Bhushan Ashu (MLA from Ludhiana West).

Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultan are the two members of the Council of Ministers who have been elevated as Cabinet Ministers. With this, the Captain Amarinder Singh cabinet now has a total strength of 18.

Others present at the swearing-in included Speaker Punjab Vidhan Sabha Rana KP Singh, Health & Family Welfare Minister Brahm Mohindra, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Local Government Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, Rural Development Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Welfare Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and Technical Minister Charanjit Singh Channi besides Members of Parliament Ravneet Singh Bittu and Gurjit Singh Aujla, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral and Advisor to Chief Minister BIS Chahal.

Several MLAs, party leaders, senior officers from civil and police administration and family members of the newly inducted ministers also attended the event.

----------

NO UNFAIRNESS IN SELECTION OF NEW MINISTERS, BALANCE HAS BEEN MAINTAINED, SAYS PUNJAB CM

  • ASSURES ALL REMAINING PARTY MLAs WOULD BE ACCOMMODATED IN BOARDS/CORPORATIONS
  • SAYS PORTFOLIOS WOULD BE ANNOUNCED BY TOMORROW, EACH MINISTER LIKELY TO GET 2 DEPTS

 Chandigarh, April 21: Denying any 'unfairness' in the selection of the new cabinet ministers, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday said adequate representation had been given to all sections and regions, with seniority the key criteria.

There were no “swollen faces” in the party, as the media chose to call them, said the Chief Minister, responding to questions from journalists in an informal chat after the swearing-in ceremony at the Raj Bhavan here.

The focus had been on striking a regional and caste balance, in order to ensure holistic development of the state, said the Chief Minister, replying to a question regarding dissatisfaction among some Congress MLAs.

To a question about certain MLAs having quit party posts after failing to find a berth in the cabinet, Captain Amarinder Singh said all issues would be amicably resolved.

With four Dalit ministers already in the cabinet, another member of the community could not have been accommodated, Captain Amarinder Singh said, in response to another question. He pointed out that nearly 25% of the state cabinet was currently being represented by Dalits.

The Chief Minister assured that all the Congress MLAs who had not found place in the Council of Ministers would be inducted into the various Boards and Corporations. The state has 7000 jobs, ranging from the Market Committees to the Planning Boards, that can be given to party workers, he added.

The expansion of the cabinet was needed to facilitate better governance, said the Chief Minister. Asked about allocation of portfolios, he said the same would be announced by Sunday. The allocation would be done in such a way that every minister is entrusted with the work of two departments, he added.

Captain Amarinder Singh said he would retain the portfolios that remain after the allocation, and added that his `personal favourite’ was anything to do with Agriculture.

------------

ALL FOR DEATH PENALTY FOR RAPISTS OF MINOR CHILDREN, SAYS CAPT AMARINDER

  • WELCOMES ORDINANCE CLEARED BY UNION CABINET TO DEAL WITH SUCH CASES

 Chandigarh, April 21: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has hailed the Central Ordinance paving the way for death penalty in cases of rape of minor children as a revolutionary and necessary step to check the increasing number of such incidents across the country.

Welcoming the move, the Chief Minister said it would act as a deterrent to the heinous crime, which had shaken the nation to the core in recent months. Such criminals are a blot on the face of humanity and deserve no mercy, he said, adding that he was all for such exemplary punishment in cases of rape of minors.

While any incident of rape or sexual molestation was unacceptable in the Indian society, which has traditionally worshipped girls and women as goddesses, the rape of minor children violates the basic tenets of humanity, said Captain Amarinder Singh. 

No sane society can tolerate such a situation, where rape of minors, including babies less than a year old, was being reported every other day, said the Chief Minister. The perversity which allows a man to commit the kind of atrocities that Kathua’s Asifa was subjected to, deserves the harshest punishment, he added.

There can be no justification, no excuse, to protect a man who can take advantage of the vulnerabilities of a child under 12, who is not even aware of her own sexuality, the Chief Minister said.

The warped psyche of such a man makes him a threat to all that humanity holds dear, and it is left to the society to protect the children under its care, said Captain Amarinder, reacting to the announcement of the Ordinance being passed by the Union Cabinet. 

The Chief Minister said it was the government’s duty not only to protect its citizens from external aggression and internal strife, but also from atrocities of any kind, and the government was empowered to take all necessary steps for this purpose.