LAHORE - The PPP and the PML-N, the two coalition partners in Punjab, have reportedly reached an understanding not to expand Punjab cabinet for political expediencies; while ignoring the fact that important portfolios in Punjab like health and education were still without full-time ministers and being run through task forces. The PPP and PML-N may be drifting apart in the Centre, where they have different roles to perform, but in Punjab, they are hand in glove with each other, commented a PPP source who believed that the two parties had reached a secret understanding to defer expansion in the provincial cabinet for political reasons as they did in case of Kerry-Lugar Bill by not allowing debate in Punjab Assembly on the controversial US legislation. When asked to explain the political reasons hindering the much-awaited expansion in the cabinet, the source said both parties had their own compulsions in this regard. The PPP is in dilemma over finalising names of its prospective ministers from among a long list of hopefuls, whereas the PML-N leadership has developed an obsession for task forces to run the departments, he observed, adding, the resultant situation has virtually led to concentration of power in one person, the chief minister, who believes in micro-management of things instead of relying on his political team. In this context, it is noteworthy that Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and office-bearers of PPPs provincial chapter had been constantly accusing the PML-N of depriving their partys legislators of their due share in power as agreed under 40:60 power sharing formula. Many a times in the recent past, Taseer has urged the ruling PML-N to complete provincial cabinet so that the government could be run in an effective and smooth manner. People have elected their representatives in the elections and not the task forces which are currently running the affairs, the governor was quoted as saying some time before. The PML-N, on the other hand, holds PPP responsible for inordinate delay in completion of the cabinet, alleging that it had not yet submitted names of its prospective ministers to the chief minister. Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah is on record having said that PML-N is more than willing to accommodate six more PPP ministers in Punjab, but the other side is disinclined to getting its share of ministries. Meanwhile, it has been learnt reliably that PPP has not yet submitted list of its nominees for induction in the Punjab cabinet, whose expansion is pending for the last over one year. The list of PPP hopefuls is lying with Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, and he would himself hand it over to Shahbaz Sharif at appropriate time, a PPP source told this scribe. The same source also told The Nation that PPP leadership was still indecisive over names of its prospective ministers, as around a dozen PPP legislators belonging to known political families are in the race to make room in the expanded cabinet of Shahbaz Sharif, and were also using their connections and influence to get ministerial slots. Earlier, the PPP had short-listed 10 candidates for interview for induction in Punjab cabinet, but it could not make a final selection due to the said reason. The names of Shahan Malik, Mukhdoom Muhammad Irtaza, Sardar Athar Gorchani, Raja Tariq Kiani and Muhammad Ali Lalika are circulating in party circles among the probable candidates who may be elevated as ministers. Independent circles, however, believe that cabinet expansion would only burden the exchequer and not help solve problems of the common man. According to their calculation, a minister would cost the kitty around Rs400,000 a month in salary and allowances, and hence it would be wise to keep the cabinet small as far as possible.