The arrested drug smugglers have been identified as Sarabjeet Singh, a resident of Jalandhar district and Honey Basra of Phagwara in Kapurthala district.
Gurmeet Singh Khudian (59), a first-time Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator, who defeated five-time Chief Minister late Parkash Singh Badal on the latter’s home turf Lambi, is one of the two faces inducted into the Bhagwant Mann Government in Punjab on Wednesday following the resignation of local government minister Dr Inderbir Singh Nijjer late on Tuesday.
The member of legislative assembly (MLA) from Kartarpur (Jalandhar), Balkar Singh, who helped AAP candidate take a lead in his constituency during the recent bypoll held for the Jalandhar Lok Sabha constituency has also been given Cabinet berth. He is a former Punjab Police officer.
With this addition, the number of ministers in the Mann Government has risen to 16. Now, only two ministerial berths are left vacant. This is the third expansion of the Mann Cabinet during the AAP’s 14-month rule in the state.
Requesting the Punjab Governor Banwari Lal Purohit to accept the resignation of Nijjer, who has resigned on personal grounds, the CM had proposed the names of Balkar Singh, MLA from Kartarpur (Jalandhar), and Gurmeet Singh Khudian, MLA from Lambi (Muktsar), as Cabinet ministers.
After defeating Badal on his home turf, Lambi constituency, Khudian had said there can’t be a bigger achievement than defeating a five-time CM and Shiromani Akali Dal patron.
The Lambi legislator, a matriculate, has over eight acres of land and an old car in his name as per his election affidavit. His father, late member of Parliament, Jagdev Singh Khudian, was an associate of the Badal before joining the SAD (Mann).
Speaking to reporters after taking the oath as minister, Balkar Singh said vowed to work honestly as minister Khudian said he was thankful to Mann and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal for giving him a ministerial berth. “I will fulfill whatever responsibility will be given to me as Cabinet minister. People of Lambi elected a common man like me. I will serve the people with full dedication,” he affirmed.