Charanjit Singh Channi to take over as Punjab Chief Minister today

Capt Amarinder extends best wishes to his successor, Navjot Sidhu calls it historic as Punjab’s gets first Dalit CM-Designate

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 19

The All India Congress Committee cleared the name of Dalit leader Charanjit Singh Channi as the new Chief Minister of Punjab—a development that comes after a day of hectic political activity that saw pulls and pressures from several claimants.

Channi said he will take oath as Punjab Chief Minister at 11 am on Monday. 

Channi will become the first Dalit Sikh leader to become the chief minister, although his term would be short given that the state would vote for a new assembly early next year. He was the leader of the opposition from 2015 until 2017 when Congress was voted to power. 

Harish Rawat, the AICC General Secretary in charge of Punjab, made a formal announcement on Sunday evening.

“It gives me immense pleasure to announce that Sh. Charanjit Singh Channi has been unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab,” Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Rawat said.

Punjab CM-designate Charanjit Singh Channi reached Governor's house with AICC observers. Governor Banwarilal Purohit had called senior Congress leaders, including Channi and Rawat, to meet him. 

Channi's family also reached Punjab Raj Bhavan.

Outgoing Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh greeted Charanjit Singh Channi.

Capt Amarinder Singh said, "My best wishes to Charanjit Singh Channi. I hope he’s able to keep the border state of Punjab safe and protect our people from the growing security threat from across the border."

The appointment of a Dalit face in the otherwise in the Jat-dominated Punjab politics would change the dynamics of the state politics in the run-up to the 2022 Assembly elections. Dalits have 33 per cent vote share in the state.

Channi’s appointment came through after Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Navjot Singh Sidhu objected to Sukhjinder Randhawa, whose name the AICC appointed observers had previously zeroed in on for the position.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also congratulated Charanjit Singh Channi. 

"We must continue to fulfill the promises made to the people of Punjab. Their trust is of paramount importance," he added.

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