Number of CPS goes up in Punjab
Chandigarh, Apr 6 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has raised the strength of Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPSs) in his present term to 21 from 14 in the previous Akali government. In the 21 CPSs to be sworn in by Badal on April 10 here at a function, around 12 MLAs will hold the post for the first time. While 17 MLAs from Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will figure in the list of 21 CPSs, the remaining four will be from SAD's ally BJP. SAD's first time MLAs-- Parkash Chand Garg (Sangrur), Sarup Singla (Bathinda), N K Sharma (Derabassi), Nisara Khatoon, who is wife of former DGP Izhar Alam, (Malerkotla) and Pawan Kumar Teenu ( Adampur) and BJP's first timers Som Parkash (Phagwara) and Navjot Kaur, wife of cricketer-turned politician BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu (Amritsar east) have been favoured by Badal. Besides, SAD's Balbir Singh Ghunnas (Dirba), Mantar Singh Brar (Faridkot), Gurbachan Singh Babehali (Gurdaspur) and Virsa Singh Valtoha (Khemkaran) who had remained MLAs in the previous Akali government as well will become the CPS for the first time. The New CPS will take oath from Badal at a function here on April 10, an official spokesman said here today. Parkash Singh Badal's 18-member cabinet, including the Chief Minister himself, was sworn in at Chappar Chirri in Mohali near here last month. In Badal's last term, 14 MLAs were appointed CPS as against a huge figure of 21 this time. Badal had tried to make a balance between fresh and old MLAs in the party by the move, political observers said. However, the name of Daljeet Singh Cheema, political advisor to Badal, was conspicuous by its absence in the list. Sources said that the fat list of CPSs is likely to put additional burden on already cash-starved Punjab government. The appointment of CPSs was challenged in the High Court in the previous Badal term and the case is still pending in the court.