After below-par LS poll results, Punjab cabinet rejig on cards

Pathak’s meeting with 15 party MLAs in Mohali last night is perceived by party insiders as a precursor to the impending cabinet reshuffle.
Punjab CM and AAP leader Bhagwant Mann.
Punjab CM and AAP leader Bhagwant Mann.(Photo | PTI)

CHANDIGARH: Following the AAP’s victory in just three Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, coupled with a significant drop in its vote share, the stage is set for a long-awaited cabinet reshuffle in the Bhagwant Mann-led Punjab Government. Mann on Wednesday met AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at Tihar Jail in Delhi.

Additionally, National General Secretary (Organization) Sandeep Pathak convened a meeting with approximately 15 party MLAs in Mohali.

Sources reveal that Mann and Kejriwal deliberated on the cabinet reshuffle and the party’s performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls. Subsequently, Mann and Pathak engaged in discussions with Sunita Kejriwal and other senior party leaders.

Pathak’s meeting with 15 party MLAs in Mohali last night is perceived by party insiders as a precursor to the impending cabinet reshuffle.

According to sources, at least five ministers, including two who faced allegations of moral turpitude, are expected to be ousted from the cabinet. Moreover, eight ministers are under scrutiny for their failure to secure leads for the party’s candidates in their respective assembly constituencies during the LS elections. With one cabinet seat vacated by State Sports Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer, who won the Sangrur parliamentary election, and two additional cabinet berths available, the reshuffle is imminent, paving the way for new faces in the cabinet shortly.

Furthermore, the party’s failure to achieve its mission of winning all 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state, coupled with a decline in vote share from 42 per cent in the 2022 assembly polls to 26 per cent in the recent parliamentary elections, underscores the need for strategic recalibration.

Among the legislators who met Pathak last night were Ashok Prashar Pappi, Gurpreet Singh Banawali, Virender Goyal, and Ravjot Singh among others. Amritsar (Central) MLA Ajay Gupta, who recently spoke out against the rampant illicit drug trade and deteriorating law and order situation, was also in attendance.

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