Punjab

Capt Amarinder 'outcasts' Navjot Sidhu, not included in any of eight consultative groups

SATINDER BAINS | June 08, 2019 03:30 PM

CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh who today formed  consultative groups to review progress and make changes in his government’s flagship programmes and schemes gave no repersentation to Navjot Sidhu who was deprived of his Tourism and Local Government portfolios in cabinet reshuffle early this week.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday took charge of assessing and improving the Urban Renewal and Reforms programmes as well as the campaign against Drugs.

Navjot Sidhu who was given power portfolio has not taken the charge of his new department and reportedly camping in Delhi to meet AICC president Rahul Gandhi. Chief Minister has changed the portfolios of ministers on the basis if their performance in the Lok Sabha elections, Congress party claimed. Sidhu however said that in urban assembly segments Congress won in 34 out of 54 while it lost in rural areas. He refused to buy the logic that changes are made of basis of performance.

It is understood that Capt Amarinder Singh and NaVjit Sidhu were at loggerheads even since Sidhu visited Pakistan on the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan on the eve of laying foundation stone of Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib corridor. The credit for corridor given to Sidhu by Imran Khan triggerred a power struggle in the Punjab Congress, a section of people within and outside Congress projecting Sidhu as successor of Capt Amarinder Singh.

Many a tines Capt Amarinder and Sidhu too a dig on each other. In the Lok Sabha poll Sidhu had refused to campaign for Preneet Kaur wife of Capt Amarinder Singh who was contesting from Patiala. Sidhu however opted to campaign for Raj Warring from Bathinda. Bad luck to Sidhu, Preneet Kaur won the election and Warring lost it. The Lok Sabha results gave an opportunity to Capt Amarinder Singh to hit hard on Sidhu and he was trapped in the cabinet rejig. Had the reshuffle been on the basis of performance, Manpreet Badal had no chance to stay in cabinet because Warring had lost by margin bigger than defeat from the Bathinda urban seat held by Manpreet Badal, said a political observer.

Neahwhile, Chief Minister has ordered the constitution of eight dedicated consultative groups to accelerate the pace of implementation of his government’s flagship programmes. The groups have been mandated to review and assess the performance of the programmes/schemes so far and give their respective recommendations for further improvements. They will also recommend amendments/updation of the existing guidelines of the schemes/programmes to improve their coverage with effective participation of communities/citizens, besides suggesting ways and means to improve outreach of these programmes/schemes.

The list of groups released by the Chief Minister’s Office on Friday evening said the Member Secretaries/ Convenors would apprise the Members of the Group of the existing guidelines of the programmes/schemes and the performance so far, clearly bringing out inadequacies/bottlenecks in their implementation. The Groups would meet as often as may be required to ensure that the assigned task is completed within four weeks and reports thereon are submitted to the Chief Minister. The Chairman of a Group may co-opt any other Member, if so required, to achieve the objectives of the Group.

The reports of the Groups would be considered by the Council of Ministers in its meeting in July 2019, as per the notification. The Chief Secretary has been asked to issue the necessary orders.

As a part of this exercise, the Chief Minister would head the consultative group on Urban Renewal and Reforms – Smart Cities, AMRUT, UEIP, HUDCO as Chairman, with Local Government Minister Brahm Mohindra, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Housing & Urban Dev Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Public Works Minister Vijay Inder Singla, Food & Civil Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu besides MLAs Pargat Singh, Sushil Kumar Rinku, Sunil Dutti, Amit Vij, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Surinder Kumar Dawar and Dr. Harjot Kamal Singh as members.

The Chief Minister would also head the consultative group on Drugs – Comprehensive Action Plan against Drug Abuse as Chairman, with Health & Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, Rural Dev & Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, and Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla among the members, along with DGP Dinkar Gupta and ADGP/STF Gurpreet Kaur Deo.

‘Farmer and Farm Workers Debt Waiver’ consultative group includes Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa as Chairman, with Revenue Minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar, and Welfare Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot as members.

The Universal Health Insurance would have Health & Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu as Chairman, and Social Security Minister Aruna Chaudhary among its members.

The Ghar Ghar Rozgar group has Employment Generation and Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi as Chairman, with Labour Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu and Industries Minister Sunder Sham Arora as members.

The group on Food Security – Smart Ration Cards is headed by Food & Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, with Rural Dev & Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Social Security Minister Smt. Aruna Chaudhary among the members.

Rural Development – MGSVY, SVC, MGNREGA, Rural Housing has Rural Dev & Panchayats Minister and Animal Husbandry Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa as Chairman, with Welfare Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Water Supply & Sanitation Minister Smt Razia Sultana among the members.

Health & Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu heads the group on Mission Tandrust Punjab, with members including Forest Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Water Resources Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Water Resources Minister Smt. Razia Sultana and Sports Minister Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi.

All the groups have MLAs and senior government officers of various departments as members. The Urban Renewal & Reforms group also includes mayors of Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala.

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