Training his guns against the opposition, the Punjab CM said those leaders whose ancestors felicitated the perpetrators of Jallianwala Bagh massacre have no moral right to question him.
First-time Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator, Gurmeet Singh Khudian (59), who defeated five-time former 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 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 get a good lead in his constituency during the recent bypoll for the Jalandhar Lok Sabha constituency has also been given Cabinet berth. He is a former Punjab Police officer.
With this, the number of ministers in the Mann government has gone up to 16. Now only two ministerial berths are vacant. This is the third expansion of the Mann Cabinet during the AAP’s 14-month rule in the state.
While 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, the Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Kartarpur (Jalandhar) and Gurmeet Singh Khudian, MLA from Lambi (Muktsar) for inducting them 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 former Member of Parliament, Jagdev Singh Khudian, was an associate of the Badal who later joined the SAD (Mann).
Speaking to reporters after taking the oath as minister, Balkar Singh said he will work honestly as minister
Khudian said he is thankful to Mann and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal for giving him ministerial berth. ‘I will fulfill whatever responsibility will be given to me as Cabinet minister. The people of Lambi elected a common man like me. I will serve the people with full dedication,” he said.