Bathinda:The Chief Minister-designate Captain Amarinder Singh and the members in his cabinet will be administered oath by Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore at Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh on Thursday morning.
To get the list of members to be taken along in the cabinet approved from him, Amarinder, on Monday, met AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi. As the Congress party has its own organisational structure and system, it is learnt that Amarinder has shortlisted the MLAs with an objective to form a balanced cabinet, in which communities and regions get fair representation.
Though the final decision is the hands of Rahul Gandhi, people in the party here expect that the Congress will also have a Deputy CM post in the government, despite the fact that Amarinder lobby is not much wiling for the same.
For the position, former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has now won Amritsar East Assembly seat on Congress symbol, is the front runner. Notably, the comedian-politician Sidhu is the choice of Rahul Gandhi and he had entered the party only on his persuasion.
Insiders informed that it was a tough task for Amarinder Singh to shortlist the names as the party has won with a clear majority, bagging 77 of the total 117 seats in the Vidhan Sabha polls. Further, all three regions of the state-Malwa, Majha and Doaba-this time have prominent faces in the list of winning tally, except the unlucky Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Sunil Kumar Jakhar.
Going by the information shared by the party sources, apart from Bathinda (urban) MLA Manpreet Singh Badal and former CLP leader Charanjit Singh Channi, a Muslim MLA from Malerkotla Razia Sultana is among the “almost sure” MLAs getting berth in Amarinder’s cabinet.
As Manpreet Singh Badal has experience of holding Finance portfolio in his uncle Parkash Singh Badal’s cabinet, party leaders are expecting him to get the same position in Congress government too.
In the youth quota, the Congress will weigh options between Fatehgarh Sahib MLA Kuljit Singh Nagra, IYC president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring. Both come from Rahul Gandhi’s brigade. Further in the same list is Sangrur MLA Vijay Inder Singla and all three are expecting themselves to be the ministers with Amarinder Singh.
Further, name of OP Soni, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and Aruna Chaudhary are being considered as the “almost sure” ones. From Malwa region, apart from Manpreet Singh Badal, Guruharsahai MLA Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi is also among the choice list of Amarinder, for him being a seasoned MLA and very close to him.
The chances of other close confidants of Amarinder in Malwa-Gurpreet Singh Kangar and Ajaib Singh Bhatti-are quite dim, at least in the first list. Ludhiana MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu is also in the race but none in the party confirmed his name in the
Other three prominent names for Amarinder’s choice are-Trip Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Brahm Mohindra and Sukh Sarkaria. Depending upon the size of the cabinet, Brahm Mohindra who is one of the senior most party MLAs may be asked to assume the position of Speaker in Vidhan Sabha, as learnt.