Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar on Tuesday defended the appointment of six MLAs as advisors to the chief minister, saying the legislators could too give advice as they feel the pulse of people.
"Advisors are required. It is not a presidential form of government. It is not that only officers could give advice. They (six MLAs) can give advice too as they feel the pulse of people," Mr Jakhar said addressing the media after a meeting of party legislators and office-bearers.
His comments came in the wake of the opposition describing the decision as an attempt to circumvent the constitutional cap on the cabinet size and a "daylight robbery" of the state exchequer.
The Punjab government had appointed six minister-rank advisors to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
Five MLAs were given the rank of a cabinet minister while one of them was given the rank of the minister of state.
Defending the state government, Mr Jakhar said the decision would not put any strain on the state exchequer.
He also attacked the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), reminding it of the appointment of 26 MLAs as chief parliamentary secretaries in 2007, a decision quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court later.
"I want to ask the SAD that in 2007, the then SAD-BJP government had appointed 26 MLAs as CPS and their appointments were quashed by the high court," he said.
The Congress chief also ruled out the possibility of contesting the assembly bypolls in the state.
AICC in-charge of Punjab Asha Kumari, who attended the meeting, said the party had asked him if he wanted to contest the elections.
He said no and the party respected his decision, said Mr Kumari.
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