Punjab BJP ministers submit resignations to party

Chandigarh : All four ministers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Punjab government submitted their resignations to the party to enable a reshuffle, party sources said Tuesday.

The ministers who submitted their resignations are Forests and Labour Minister Chunni Lal Bhagat, Industries and Commerce Minister Madan Mohan Mittal, Local Government Minister Anil Joshi and Health and Family Welfare Minister Surjit Kumar Jayani.

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“The resignations have been submitted to enable the BJP leadership to reshuffle the ministers,” a BJP leader told IANS.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is part of the Punjab government as an alliance partner of the Shiromani Akali Dal. The alliance has been in power in the state since 2007.

The resignations came ahead of a meeting between Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who is the patron of the Akali Dal, and BJP in-charge for Punjab Shanta Kumar.

The alliance had won a total of six seats out of 13 in the recent Lok Sabha polls. This was seen as a debacle for the ruling alliance as the BJP won more seats in neighbouring Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Senior BJP leader and now Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley lost by over one lakh votes from the Amritsar seat to former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh of the Congress.

The BJP and Akali Dal leaders have, in subdued tones, been blaming each other for the poor showing of the alliance in the recent Lok Sabha polls.