Cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, former hockey captain Pargat Singh and Manpreet Singh Badal are among the leaders likely to find a place in the Amarinder Singh Ministry. Though the chief minister-designate refused to share any details about the likely members of his cabinet, party sources said several newly elected MLAs including Sidhu, who had deserted BJP to join Congress, Manpreet, the estranged nephew of outgoing Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, and Razia Sulata are in the race.
Having tasted electoral victory in Punjab after a gap of 10 years, Congress would like to give representation to members of different castes, regions, religions and gender and also accommodate experienced leaders and youths in the cabinet.
Other probables for ministerial berths are Sukhjinder Randhawa (Dera Baba Nanak), Tript Singh Rajinder Bajwa (Fatehgarh Churian) and O P Soni (Amritsar Central) from Majha region, the sources said.
From Doaba, former hockey captain Pargat Singh (Jalandhar Cantt), Rana Gurjit Singh (Kapurthala), Sham Sundar Arora (Hoshiarpur) are in race for ministerial berths. From Malwa region, where Congress got 40 seats out of 69, Manpreet Singh Badal (Bathinda Urban), Brahm Mohindra (Patiala Rural), either Surinder Dawar (Ludhiana Central) or Rakesh Pandey (Ludhiana North), Balbir Sidhu (Mohali) and Gurmeet Sodhi (Guruharsahai) are the main contenders.
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Among women, Razia Sultana (Malerkotla) and Aruna Choudhary (Dinanagar SC) could get a ministerial berth. Vijay Inder Singh Singla (Sangrur), Raja Amarinder Warring (Gidderabaha) and Kuljit Nagra (Fatehgarh Sahib) are considered close to party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and could find a place in the ministry.
Among Dalit leaders, Charanjit Singh Channi (Chamkaur Sahib SC), Raj Kumar (Chabbewal SC) and Sadhu Singh Dharmsot (Nabha SC) are the front runners for the ministerial berths. Amarinder will take oath as chief minister on March 16. Riding on strong anti-incumbency, Congress stormed to power in Punjab after a gap of 10 years by winning 77 seats in the 117-member Assembly.