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Posted at: Dec 7, 2017, 9:54 PM; last updated: Dec 8, 2017, 2:21 AM (IST)

Cabinet expansion after December 18: Punjab CM

Cabinet expansion after December 18: Punjab CM
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu during a press conference. Tribune file

Amritsar, December 7

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday said he would go in for Cabinet expansion after December 18, but ruled out appointment of a Deputy Chief Minister, for which, he asserted, the Congress has no convention.

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Rejecting allegations that the Congress government failed to implement many of its poll promises, he said, “It is not possible to implement all promises in eight months, given the financial crisis inherited from the earlier SAD-BJP dispensation.”

Addressing a press conference following the launch of the Congress Vision Document for the state’s urban development, Amarinder Singh said the state government is struggling to generate its own resources, including loans, to fulfil its responsibilities and promises.

Flanked by state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar and Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Chief Minister said the process of farm loan waiver would begin after the civic polls and distribution of smart phones would also begin soon.

All things are dependent on resources, which takes time to manage, he said.

“We will go in for Cabinet expansion after the declaration of the Gujarat poll results, on December 18,” the Chief Minister said.

Influx of industries in the state would help boost resource generation, Amarinder Singh said, adding his government has signed MoUs to the tune of Rs 50,000 crore since March this year.

On the GST issue, the Chief Minister said the problem was with its implementation, which had been done by the Central Government without properly thinking about it.

He disclosed that his government was mulling a change in the excise policy to make it more beneficial for the state and policies in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan were being examined.

Regarding December 17 civic polls in Punjab, Amarinder Singh said deserving MLAs and individuals were being chosen, based on feedback received by the committee set up for this purpose.

About the Congress’ prospects in the Gujarat elections, he said information received from senior party colleagues was that the contest was going to be neck-and-neck, with a strong possibility of silent voters swinging the mood.

Amarinder, who had to cancel his proposed visit to Gujarat because of the cyclone alert, said Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to the post of Congress president would have a positive impact on the election.

On the recent attempts by radical forces to disturb peace and stability in Punjab, the Chief Minister said his government was working closely with Central agencies to crack down on such elements, “working at the behest of the ISI”.

Asked about gangsters operating from prisons to facilitate the radical groups, he said all steps were being taken to block such communication and 2G jammers are being replaced with 4G ones. PTI

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