Punjab government has appointed six Congress MLAs as chief minister’s advisors, five in the Cabinet rank and status and sixth one in both rank and status of Minister of State.
This move was taken to put down disagreement of the party over the handling of bargari and police firing case and to conciliate those who failed to get a berth in the last Cabinet reshuffle in the State.
This allows six MLAs to get the constitutional rights and allowances enjoyed by ministers, which will put some extra financial burden on the government.
Four MLAs are – Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon from Faridkot, Amrinder Singh Raja Warring from Gidderbaha, Sangat Singh Gilzian from Urmur and Inderbir Bolaria from Amritsar – have been appointed as advisors (political).
While Fatehgarh Sahib MLA Kuljit Nagra has been appointed as an advisor (planning) in the rank and status of Cabinet Minister
Lastly, Tarsem DC from Attari has been designated as Advisor (planning) with the rank of a minister of state, a government official said.
Adviser (Planning) has been divided into work of implementation and review of various government programme and schemes.
Moreover, the maximum strength of the council of ministers can be 18 as there are 117 members in the Punjab assembly.
Instead of appointing Chief Parliamentary Secretaries, whose appointments had been termed illegal in the previous Akali-BJP government, the MLAs have been appointed as advisors, a senior government official said.
The government was earlier planning to appoint MLAs legislative secretaries through legislation.
Earlier, appointed advisors in the government were not Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs).
“Only time will tell whether these MLAs are given teeth or remain mere advisors,” said a Cabinet Minister.
Meanwhile, some MLAs are quite upset with the Captain Amarinder-led Congress government over its handling the sacrilege case of Guru Granth Sahib in the state in 2015.