CHANDIGARH: Even as Navjot Singh Sidhu remains at loggerheads with Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh over the change of portfolio, another cabinet minister, OP Soni, has steadfastly refused to join his new ministry.
Divested of the school education department, Soni was given the charge of medical education and research department in the cabinet reshuffle 11 days ago.
According to sources close to Soni, the minister is refusing to take charge in the hope of getting an additional department in a bargain with the CM.
He will be in Amritsar for the local municipal by-elections for the next two days and has no plans of returning to Chandigarh as yet.
The minister has gone on record to blame senior bureaucrats for the reshuffle that lead to ministers losing their plum portfolios. Apart from Soni, urban development minister Tript Rajinder Bajwa and transport minister Aruna Chaudhary were also relieved of their departments.
The ministers affected by this reshuffle are questioning the logic behind this move.
They claim that if performance in the Lok Sabha elections was the yardstick for the exercise, then Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi and Vijay Inder Singla, who got additional portfolios, should have been dropped as the party candidates lost from their respective areas.
“This reshuffle has created more problems and has not served its purpose,” said a minister on condition of anonymity.