Republic World
Ananya Varma

It is important to mention that there are nine ministers in the Punjab Cabinet now, apart from the CM after Health Minister Dr Vijay Singla was ousted.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government led by Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann is all set to expand its Cabinet tomorrow (July 4).

Republic has learnt that six;new Ministers, including one woman Minister, are likely to be sworn in at 5 PM in the evening. This will take the total strength of the Punjab Cabinet to 15, from its present strength of 9 Ministers.

The possible expansion comes after a meeting was reportedly held between CM Bhagwant Mann and AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi on Friday. During the 3-hour-long interaction, which also had Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha in attendance, names of new additions to the Cabinet were discussed, sources claim. The AAP government has sent a letter to Punjab Governor Banwari Lal Purohit seeking time for the oath-taking ceremony on Monday evening.

It is important to mention that there are nine ministers in the Cabinet now, apart from the Chief Minister after Health Minister Dr Vijay Singla was ousted on charges of corruption. As a result, eight posts in the Cabinet are lying vacant, which are likely to be filled post tomorrow's expansion.

AAP's Punjab Cabinet faces flak from BJP

Notably, after the Mann Cabinet was announced a little over 3 months ago, the BJP had claimed that newly inducted ministers in Punjab 'lacked experience' when it came to managing the state's affairs, which by default allowed party's supremo Arvind Kejriwal to run the state. Haryana Power Minister Ranjit Singh had claimed that most Punjab Ministers came from non-political backgrounds and had not even seen the building of the state Assembly.

Poll rights group Association for Democratic Reforms in a report had alleged that 7 of the 11 sworn-in ministers in Punjab had declared criminal cases against themselves, with four of them facing serious charges. Of the 11 ministers, nine are crorepatis and the average of their assets is Rs 2.87 crore, it stated.

In a historic mandate, much like Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party registered a landslide victory in Punjab by winning 92 of the 117 Assembly seats, defeating Congress and the Akali Dal-Bahujan Samaj Party combined. The party's candidates managed to send regional stalwarts like Parkash Singh Badal, Amarinder Singh and Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi home.

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