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BJP To Flex More Muscle In Punjab After Haryana, Maharashtra Assembly Wins

CHANDIGARH – It seems, the BJP, buoyed by its successive wins at the hustings, will be demanding redistribution of power in Punjab though it is unlikely to demand more ministerial berths.

It certainly wants its ministers be given charge of important portfolios. Sources say the party is eyeing Investment Promotion, Housing, Excise and Taxation and Home. These departments are under Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The state BJP had to eat humble pie after the strength of its MLAs dwindled from 19 in the 2007-12 Vidhan Sabha to 12 in the current Vidhan Sabha. The SAD had allotted the Industries Department to the BJP, but it bifurcated it, keeping Investment Promotion with itself.

The Housing Department was retained by the Akalis with the BJP getting the Local Bodies Department. Some months ago, the government took away the Solid Waste Management Department from the Local Bodies Department. It announced the Solid Waste Management Authority.

Sources in the BJP said the party’s central leadership had conveyed to the SAD leaders its dislike for concentration of power in a few hands and the resultant poor governance. They pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had attacked dynastic politics while campaigning in Haryana.

“The Akalis will have to demonstrate that they take the BJP seriously by ensuring the party is an equal partner in governance. As it is, the incumbent BJP leadership is of the view that the era of alliances is over. Nothing stops the BJP from going it alone in Punjab.

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