Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 26
Seven outstanding Congress leaders from Doaba have written to Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu in opposition to together with Rana Gurjit Singh within the Punjab Cabinet for his alleged involvement in a sand mining rip-off within the state—a improvement that comes forward of a Cabinet growth.
The oath-taking ceremony for the remaining of Chief Minister Charanjit Channi’s Cabinet is scheduled for 4.30 pm. Rana Gurjit Singh is a in all probability Cabinet minister within the new Cabinet (Read the list of Cabinet probables right here).
Sand mining row: Punjab minister Rana Gurjit resigns
READ Tribune’s investigative sequence on the sand mining rip-off right here
Mohinder Singh Kaypee, ex-president Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee; MLAs Navtej Singh Cheema from Sultanpur Lodhi; Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal from Phagwara; Bawa Henry from Jalandhar North; Raj Kumar from Chabbewal; Pawan Adia from Sham Churasi; and Sukhpal Singh Khaira from Bholath—all leaders from Doaba—have written to Sidhu, and marked a duplicate of the letter to Chief Minister Channi, voicing their opposition to Rana Gurjit Singh’s inclusion.
“We want to convey an enormous resentment amongst the general public and the Congress cadre on the proposed inclusion of tainted Rana Gurjeet Singh,” the letter reads. “He was dropped from the Cabinet in January 2018 due to the notorious mining allocation scandal involving him, his household, and his firms straight. The Punjab Government had forfeited roughly Rs 25 crore deposited by his entrance firm M/s Rajbir Enterprises for the mining public sale of the websites in Punjab. We marvel why Rana Gurjeet Singh is being included within the Cabinet as he was dropped and has acquired no clear chit from any court docket or authorities.”
In the attention of ‘sandstorm’
This marketing campaign in opposition to Rana seems to be led to Khaira, whose current re-entry into the occasion Rana had opposed. Khaira rejoined the occasion in June after a stint with Aam Aadmi Party.
Khaira in the meantime faces corruption allegations himself: he’s being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate after a cross-border drug smuggling community was found in Fazilka.
The letter to the occasion additionally talks about skewed caste dynamics within the proposed Cabinet.
“Apart from the above-stated info, it’s amusing that each one the three ministers proposed to be included within the Cabinet from Doaba area are Jatt Sikhs and one is OBC Sikh, whereas there’s roughly 38 per cent Dalit inhabitants on this area,” the letter says. “Therefore, all of us request you to instantly drop Rana Gurjeet Singh from the proposed Cabinet growth and as an alternative embrace a clear Dalit face in view of the upcoming elections.”
Four of the seven leaders who’ve written the letter—Kaypee, Chabbewal, Adia, and Dhaliwal—are Dalits.
The disgruntled Congress MLAs additionally headed to Patiala for a closed-door assembly with Sidhu on Saturday afternoon to make their case hours simply hours earlier than new ministers are sworn in.
“We will oppose this induction and have advised our facet of the story to Sidhu,” an MLA who didn’t want to be named stated, because the MLAs stepped in to meet Sidhu.
A senior Congress chief cited the case of an MLA whose name was dropped from the list of probables as a result of his name was linked to an unlawful mining case in his personal constituency.
“They’ve now added somebody who was eliminated on corruption costs. They ought to perceive that polls are only some months away,” this chief, who additionally most well-liked to keep nameless, stated.
The letter, and the assembly, comes after some 15 Congress MLAs from Doaba held a gathering and later a signature marketing campaign to bolster their trigger.
Congress sources say a number of legislators from the occasion have raised comparable considerations: that the inclusion of an individual going through corruption costs would probably ship out fallacious indicators simply earlier than meeting elections and probably present the occasion in a foul gentle.
Rana Gurjit Singh was compelled to resign from former chief minister Amarinder Singh’s Cabinet in 2018 after his name started to be linked to a mining rip-off within the state.
Opposition to Rana Gurjit Singh’s potential induction comes solely days after Chief Minister Charanjit Channi vowed to finish corruption within the state when he was sworn in final week.
Meanwhile, Opposition events latched on to the controversy. Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt) chief Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa stated his occasion would strongly oppose the appointment of any “corrupt” chief to the Punjab Cabinet.
Nagra dropped, Randeep Nabha in
Also amongst these whose names are now not within the contender list is Fatehgarh Sahib MLA Kuljit Nagra, who’s been changed by Nabha MLA Randeep Nabha, sources stated.
The sources attributed the substitution to regional steadiness and expertise.
“The clearance got here as we speak,” sources stated.
The last-minute modifications have been made after Congress president Sonia Gandhi intervened, some sources stated.
In a associated improvement, former ministers Balbir Singh Sidhu and Gurpreet Kangar, whose names have been dropped from the brand new cabinet, have requested the occasion management why they’ve been overlooked however added they’d abide by the occasion’s determination.
The two leaders, who addressed a press briefing simply earlier than cabinet growth, stated it was embarrassing for them to know that they’d been bypassed.
“If the excessive command had requested us for our resignations, we’d have given them. This is embarrassing. We have requested why the excessive command has ignored us,” the 2 leaders advised the press, as Balbir Singh Sidhu broke down on the press convention.
Both have been ministers within the Amarinder Singh cabinet.
Punjab’s meeting elections are due within the state early subsequent yr.