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Upinderjit Kaur is new Punjab finance minister


Chandigarh : Less than a week after Manpreet Singh Badal was sacked as the finance minister of Punjab, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Wednesday said Upinderjit Kaur will be the new finance minister of the state.

Kaur is presently the state’s education minister.

Manpreet, a nephew of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, was sacked from the Punjab cabinet after his statements on doing away with subsidies and freebies, like free power to farmers, and Punjab’s finances and debt write-offs offered by the central government, brought him in confrontation with the party’s policies and leadership.

The finance minister was dropped from the ministry last week owing to his recent statements regarding the Rs.70,000 crore debt on the state and his demand that the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal do away with subsidies and freebies to take the state out of a debt trap.

He had claimed that the central government had extended a conditional offer of waiving nearly Rs.35,000 crore.

The statements had brought Manpreet in direct confrontation with his first cousin and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also the Akali Dal president.

Sukhbir is also the son of the chief minister.

In a minor reshuffle affected Wednesday, the portfolios of a few ministers were changed.

Sewa Singh Sekhwan will be the new education minister.

The charge of the information and public relations department has now been given to Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, who already holds the charge of the home and sports departments.