Badal Finds “Relative” Ministers Absent After Return From Delhi

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CHANDIGARH – After spending more than 10 days away from the state capital for holding Sangat Darshan in Talwandi Sabo, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal returned to the Secretariat by marking eight ministers, including his relatives Bikram Singh Majithia and Adesh Partap Kairon, besides a senior bureaucrat, absent.

Of the eight ministers, three are from the BJP. The SAD-BJP alliance has hit a rough patch post the Lok Sabha election debacle, especially the defeat of Arun Jaitley from Amritsar. Majithia has not been seen much in the Secretariat after the Lok Sabha election results.

Some of the absentee Ministers, including Heath Minister Surjit Kumar Jyani, had conducted such surprise checks on their staff in past few days, but the CM seems to have sent a message to them that they should “practice what they preach”.

The ministers and staff are supposed to be present in their offices by 9 am, but the CM found Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Irrigation Minister Sharanjeet Singh Dhillon, Local Government Minister Anil Joshi, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon, Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jiyani, Forest Minister Chunni Lal Bhagat, Industries Minister Madan Mohan Mittal and Revenue Minister and Information & Public Relations Minister Bikram Singh Majithia absent during the surprise check at 9:05 am. Principal Secretary, General Administration, Sanjay Kumar was also found absent.

Four Cabinet Ministers — Agriculture Minister Tota Singh, Transport Minister Ajit Singh Kohar, Tourism and Jails Minister Sohan Singh Thandal and Water Supply & Sanitation Minister Surjit Singh Rakhra — were in their offices. A spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said the move was aimed at ensuring decorum and discipline in the government offices, besides fulfilling the commitment of the state government for prompt delivery of citizen-centric services.

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