Chandigarh: Setting a record of sorts, there will be 21 chief parliamentary secretaries in Punjab’s Parkash Singh Badal-led Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.
Badal will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the 21 chief parliamentary secretaries at a ceremony at Punjab Bhawan here Tuesday.
Seventeen of the legislators being accommodated as chief parliamentary secretaries belong to the Akali Dal and seven to the BJP.
The post of chief parliamentary secretary is one rank below that of a cabinet minister but above the administrative secretaries of the concerned department. The chief parliamentary secretaries enjoy nearly all the perks and facilities extended to ministers, including using the national flag on their official vehicles.
The move to induct so many chief parliamentary secretaries is clearly to accommodate a number of leaders who could not be made ministers when the Badal government was sworn in last month.
In its previous 2007-2012 tenure, the Badal government had nearly a dozen chief parliamentary secretaries.
With the number going up to 21, the move is likely to cost the fund-starved Punjab government a few crores of rupees in monthly bills with the salaries, perks and other facilities extended to the new chief parliamentary secretaries.
According to an official spokesman, those who would be sworn as chief parliamentary secretaries are Balbir Singh Ghunnas, Nand Lal, Sohan Singh Thandal, Desraj Dhugga, Montar Singh Brar, Harmeet Singh Sandhu, Mohinder Kaur Josh, Avinash Chander, Inderbir Singh Bolaria, Gurbachan Singh Babehali, Virsa Singh Valtoha, Amarpal Singh Bonny Ajnala, Pawan Kumar Teenu, Parkash Chand Garg, Sarup Singla, N.K Sharma, Nisara Khatoon (all Akali Dal) and K.D Bhandari, Amarjit Singh Sahi, Som Parkash and Navjot Kaur Sidhu (all BJP).
Navjot Kaur Sidhu is the wife of BJP MP from Amritsar and former cricketer Navjot Sidhu, Nisara Khatoon is the wife of former Punjab director general of police Izhar Alam, Som Prakash is a retired bureaucrat and N.K. Sharma is a leading builder.