Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, his two deputies and state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu took a chartered flight to Delhi to discuss the expansion of the new Cabinet with the party’s central leadership, sources said.
The team will meet Congress general secretary Harish Rawat, who is the Punjab affairs in-charge, in Delhi, they told news agency Press Trust of India.
Navjot Sidhu uploaded a photo on Twitter showing him with Mr Channi and Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, one of the two Deputy Chief Ministers, beside a chartered plane. “In line of duty!!” he tweeted.
In line of duty !! pic.twitter.com/ljxxz5UeF9
— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) September 21, 2021
Mr Channi, Mr Randhawa and the other Deputy Chief Minister, OP Soni, were sworn in on Monday, two days after Amarinder Singh resigned as Chief Minister of the poll-bound state.
After hectic consultations, the party had picked Mr Channi as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party.
Mr Randhawa, a Jat Sikh, and Mr Soni, a Hindu, were apparently chosen to balance the caste equations.
Sources told Press Trust of India that the cabinet is likely to see the induction of fresh faces after the Delhi meeting, where the probable candidates will be discussed.
There are indications that those who rallied behind Navjot Sidhu in the power tussle with Amarinder Singh will find a place in the new cabinet.
According to news agency PTI, the names of Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, Madan Lal Jalalpur, Inderbir Singh Bolaria, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Pargat Singh and Sangat Singh Gilzian are doing the rounds.
Pargat Singh, considered close to Navjot Sidhu, is at present the Punjab Congress general secretary and Mr Gilzian is a working president of the party’s state unit.
There is speculation whether Amarinder Singh-loyalists — like Gurmit Singh Sodhi, who was the sports minister, and Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, who held the ministry of social justice — would retain their positions.
Mr Channi himself was part of the group of ministers who constantly targeted Amarinder Singh, making it clear that they were part of the Navjot Sidhu camp.
Shortly before the swearing of the three ministers on Monday, Harish Rawat triggered a row by suggesting that the coming assembly elections will be fought under Mr Sidhu’s leadership.
Former state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, who was at one stage also seen as a CM candidate, said the “baffling” remark would undermine the new CM’s authority.
In a damage-control exercise, the Congress then said both Mr Channi and Mr Sidhu will lead the fight in the next election.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)