– Captain Amarinder Singh sworn in as Chief Minister of Punjab; Phoolka to be Leader of Opposition

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh-Punjab, 16 March 2017. Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee head Captain Amarinder Singh today took oath as a Chief Minister of Punjab after recording an emphatic win in the state assembly polls. The swearing-in ceremony was held in the presence of Punjab governor V P Singh Badnore at Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh.

7 Cabinet minister and 2 state ministers also took oath along with Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on this occasion. Cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was being expected to become Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, also took oath as Cabinet minister.

It is learnt that a faction of veteran Congressmen was against the appointment of Navjot Singh Sidhu on the second highest post of Punjab government due to his new entry in Congress.

The swearing-in ceremony was also attended by the former Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh, Vice-President of Congress Sri Rahul Gandhi, Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibbal, Rajinder Gupta, Naveen Jindal, Sachin Pilot, Rajiv Shukla, Raj Babbar etc.

Detail of the new Punjab cabinet is as below:

1 Captain Amarinder Singh; Home, Personnel, Excise & Taxation and Housing

2 Brahm Mohindra; Health & Family Welfare

3 Navjot Sidhu; Local Bodies

4 Manpreet Badal; Finance

5 Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa; Panchayats & Rural Development

6 Rana Gurjit Singh; Irrigation & Power

7 Sadhu Singh Dharamkot; Social Welfare

8 Charanjit Channi; Technical Education

9 Aruna Chaudhary; Education

10 Razia Sultana; Public Work Department

H S Phoolka to be leader of Official Opposition

After securing 20 seats in the concluded assembly polls of Punjab, the rookie Aam Aadmi Party has chosen former Supreme Court lawyer Advocate H S Phoolka as opposition leader for the 15th assembly of Punjab.

Although the names of Bholath legislator Sukhpal Khaira and Kharar legislator Kanwar Sandhu also come to fore for this significant post but the seniority of H S Phoolka in AAP helped him in gaining the position. Notably, HS Phoolka has cracked the assembly seat of Dakha defeating the Akali legislator by a margin of 4169 votes.

Sikh24 has learnt that the name of Phoolka was proposed by Talwandi Sabo MLA Professor Baljinder Kaur and the Mansa MLA Nazar Singh Manshahiya and Sunam MLA Aman Arora also gave consent to Phoolka’s name. No other name was proposed in the meeting. Later, Khaira’s name was proposed for chief whip by Phoolka.

The names were accepted without any objection and discussion.

AAP’s national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal confirmed the development. He informed that the newly elected legislator of Bholath Sukhpal Khaira will be the AAP’s chief whip in the state.

It is pertinent to note here that the sexagenarian former Supreme Court advocate, HS Phoolka is known for his fight for justice for victims of the 1984 Sikh genocide.

Among the three contenders for the position of opposition leader (besides Khaira and Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu), Phoolka was associated with the AAP the longest and enjoys Kejriwal’s complete confidence. He had contested the Parliament polls in 2014 on AAP’s ticket from Ludhiana.

He was instrumental in extracting AAP supremao Arvind Kejriwal and his team from political damage following the manifesto controversy.

He was the first to offer that Kejriwal and he will go and apologise at the Golden Temple for the inadvertent mistake of superimposing the image of the party’s symbol ‘broom’ on the picture of the sanctum sanctorum Sri Harmandir Sahib on the manifesto cover.


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