Two doctors from the two districts of Punjab with the lowest literacy rate – Mansa and Muktsar – have been inducted into the cabinet of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.
According to the 2011 census, Mansa and Muktsar had recorded a literacy rate of 62.8% and 66.8%, respectively, against the state average of 76.7%.
Mansa MLA Dr Vijay Singla and Malout MLA Dr Baljit Kaur, who is the daughter of former Faridkot MP Sadhu Singh, were sworn in as Punjab government ministers on Saturday.
During their election campaigns, both had promised to make Mansa and Muktsar vibrant neighborhoods with better educational and job opportunities. Today, their elevation as cabinet ministers has further raised people’s hopes.
A 52-year-old dentist, Dr Singla beat Congress’ Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu – a popular Punjabi singer who has millions of fans – by a margin of 63,323 votes.
Dr. Singla holds a Bachelor of Dentistry and Surgery (BDS) degree and is in private practice. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) wave was so strong in the state that Moosewala’s star factor did not work at all in Mansa, who chose Dr Singla over the popular singer who joined Congress in November 2021.
Also in 2017, Mansa elected an AAP MP, Nazar Singh Manshahia, but he defected to Congress in April 2019 during the Lok Sabha election campaign. However, even this factor did not work against the AAP candidate.
Dr Baljit, 46, who is currently the only woman in the state cabinet, won the assembly segment of Malout in Muktsar district, which has a female literacy rate of 60% – the second lowest after Mansa with 56.4%.
She took early retirement from a Punjab government post in November 2021 to contest her first election in which she defeated former MLA Harpreet Singh of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) by a margin of 40,621 votes. . Dr Baljit voiced concerns about health services and began visiting hospitals shortly after winning the election.
Bathinda left without representation
The AAP devolved power from Bathinda District, which had continuously had two ministers for the past decade, leaving it without representation in the first list of ministers.
Baljinder Kaur, who won Talwandi Sabo for the second time and Jagroop Singh Gill, who beat former finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal of Bathinda Urban by 63,581 votes, were unable to make the first list of ministers.
During the previous Congress government, the district had two ministers – Manpreet Singh Badal and Gurpreet Singh Kangar of Rampura Phul.
However, Kangar was removed from office in 2021. During SAD’s tenure from 2012 to 2017, Sikander Singh Maluka and Janmeja Singh Sekhon had served as district cabinet ministers.