Punjab CM Mann expands cabinet, 5 AAP MLAs take oath as ministers

Five AAP MLAs on Monday were inducted as ministers in the Punjab government as Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann expanded his cabinet.

It was the first cabinet expansion of the Mann-led government after AAP stormed to power in the state during the Assembly elections earlier this year.

Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered the oath of office and secrecy to the MLAs at Guru Nanak Dev Auditorium of Punjab Raj Bhawan here on Monday evening.

Barring two-time Sunam MLA Aman Arora, four others were the first-time legislators.

Arora was the first one to take oath, followed by Dr Inderbir Singh Nijjar, who is the MLA from Amritsar South seat.

Later, Fauja Singh Sarari, who represents Guru Har Sahai, Chetan Singh Jourmajra, MLA from Samana, and Kharar legislator Anmol Gagan Mann were administered oath as cabinet ministers. Anmol Gagan Mann is the second woman who became the cabinet minister in the Mann-led cabinet.

All of them took oath in Punjabi. Of the five new faces, four MLAs are from the Malwa region and one is from the Majha region.

With the induction of five more ministers, the strength of the Mann-led cabinet will reach 15, including the chief minister.

After AAP formed the government following its resounding victory in the assembly polls, 10 MLAs, including eight first-timers, were inducted as ministers in March.

However in May, Health Minister Vijay Singla was sacked from the state cabinet over graft charges, taking the strength of ministers to nine in the Cabinet.

There are 18 berths in the cabinet, including the chief minister. The Aam Aadmi Party had stormed to power in Punjab by bagging 92 seats out of a total of 117.