Opposition cries foul as Punjab govt. appoints 6 MLAs as advisers to CM

first_imgThe decision of the Punjab government to appoint six Congress legislators as Minister-rank advisers to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has come under severe criticism from the Opposition parties, which on Tuesday accused the government of overburdening the State exchequer.Five of the MLAs appointed by the government are in the rank and status of Cabinet Minister while one is in the rank and status of Minister of State.Demand for withdrawalLeader of the Opposition and Aam Aadmi Party MLA Harpal Singh Cheema warned that if the decision is not immediately withdrawn, the party will explore legal remedies as the move is an attempt to “bypass the constitutional cap on the size of the State Cabinet”.“When Punjab is already struggling with huge debt burden, giving Cabinet Minister-level amenities to MLAs will bring great loss to the public exchequer,” he said.“We are exploring legal remedies if the State government does not immediately take its decision back,” added Mr. Cheema.The five MLAs in Cabinet Minister-rank are Kushaldeep Dhillon (Faridkot), Amrinder Raja Warring (Gidderbaha), Sangat Singh Gilzian (Urmar), Inderbir Bolaria (Amritsar) and Kuljit Nagra (Fatehgarh Sahib). Tarsem Singh (Attari) has been accorded the rank of Minister of State.The Shiromani Akali Dal also condemned the Congress government for burdening the State exchequer. Former Minister Bikram Singh Majithia said “it seems the Congress is trying to save its government from collapse and has in this process decided to fritter away the scarce resources of the State to its partymen”.“This amounts to daylight robbery of the State exchequer. With the latest addition, the total number of political appointees in the State government have risen to 26. What’s the logic of the move except to fatten its legislators at the exchequer’s expense,” said Mr. Majithia.Claiming that the appointments were illegal and against constitutional norms, he said: “Legislators can’t hold office of profit which these appointments are.”BJP’s national secretary Tarun Chugh told reporters that the decision was an attempt to circumvent the Constitution (91st Amendment) Act, 2003. Mr. Chug said that under the law, the strength of Ministers cannot exceed 15% of the total members of the House. With Punjab Assembly having 117 MLAs, the maximum strength of the Council of Ministers can be 18, and including the CM, the State already has 17 Ministers.last_img read more