Charanjit Singh Channi, Navjot Singh Sidhu both party’s poll face in Punjab: Congress

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 20

The Congress on Monday said it would fight the 2022 Punjab elections under the leadership of both CM Charanjit Singh Channi and PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu even as rivals accused the party of appointing the state’s first Dalit CM as a “mere tokenism”.

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Hours after the BJP, SAD, BSP and AAP accused the Congress of paying lip service to the Dalit cause in the light of AICC general secretary Harish Rawat’s remark that elections would be fought under Sidhu, the party went into crisis management with media chief Randeep Surjewala saying Channi as CM would be the face of the party in the next polls along with Sidhu. “Our face will be Channi and Sidhu as also ordinary Congress workers and leaders who will be supporting them. Let there be no misgivings about our Punjab Chief Minister,” Surjewala said after Rawat’s remark gave ammunition to the rival parties.

BSP chief Mayawati said, “The appointment a few months before elections looks like a poll gimmick.” SAD leaders asked if Channi was just a “night watchman”, while BJP’s Amit Malviya termed Rawat’s remark a huge insult to Dalits.

“If Channi has been made the CM only to hold the seat for Sidhu, it completely undermines the Dalit empowerment narrative peddled by the Congress,” said Malviya.

Hitting back, Surjewala asked the BJP why it had not named a single Dalit leader as CM in the states ruled by it. “The Congress has taken a historic decision in Punjab. A Dalit, who proudly engaged in manual labour with his father, has today become the CM,” he said.

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