‘Will ensure end to drugs, illegal betting’: Charanjit Singh Channi : The Tribune India

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‘Will ensure end to drugs, illegal betting’: Charanjit Singh Channi

The Tribune Interview: Charanjit Singh Channi, Jalandhar Congress candidate



Former Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had lost from both Assembly seats that he had contested in 2022 Assemply poll — Chamkaur Sahib and Bhadaur. Trying his luck from Jalandhar (reserved) Lok Sabha seat this time, he has been canvassing aggressively since the past five weeks. All along, he has been handling all attacks coming against him from the rivals and also from within the party. In an interview with Deepkamal Kaur, Channi says: “I am pretty confident this time.” Excerpts:

Former Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi

How has it been different campaigning in Jalandhar from Chamkaur Sahib area that you have represented thrice?

Though I have had no plans to contest from Doaba earlier, but I was already familiar with Jalandhar and its people. My ancestors hailed from Jalandhar and my family has been organising an annual event here in their memory. Even as the Punjab Technical Education Minister and the CM, I had been touring this area and meeting people, though elections is a completely different ball game. As the CM, I had made a couple of projects for Jalandhar including for setting up of Kanshi Ram College in Adampur, Buta Mandi Dham, road to Adampur airport in the name of Guru Ravidass and a bhawan in the name of Saint Kabir. The best part is that as I go around, the party MLAs and halqa incharges are telling me that they do not have to make any effort to ensure a good gathering.

People of Jalandhar have not seen a road roller for two years. Voters of Adampur and Kartarpur villages have told me that their relatives have stopped visiting them because of bad roads. I will bring in a government university, government colleges and model schools. I shall also work on reviving the leather industry, sports goods manufacturing units and forging units.

Ahead of 2022 polls, your reels portraying you as a commoner had become very popular but not much of that stuff has come this time. You have rather remained engaged in controversies for the last 35 days here. Your take?

I understand that some people have tried to disturb my campaign with baseless, meaningless allegations but I do not let them bother me. I tell them ‘Tusin apna raag alaapde raho, mein apni chaal chalda rahunga’ (You may continue to sing your music, I shall continue to strive on my path).

You sought response of your voters on the Google Form? What is the feedback that they have given?

The most common response that the Jalandhar people have given is on drug menace. Even as I go around, there are people who stop by and tell me that I should work on putting an end to this menace which has ruined a number of lives here. So if I get elected, it will be my first priority to ensure that there are no drugs, illegal betting and lottery shops that have been flourishing here.

The claims of ending drugs have been made by ex-CM Capt Amarinder Singh and even sitting CM Bhagwant Mann. But nothing much has happened. So, how do you think that you shall be able to handle it?

The only thing required to handle such crimes is a strong willpower. My style has been different from the other two CMs. I am known to take strong decisions. So, if people make me win this seat, either Channi will survive or the drug mafia. The two of them shall not be able to co-exist.

Other than drugs, what is on your roadmap for Jalandhar?

People of Jalandhar have not seen a road roller for two years. The voters of Adampur and Kartarpur villages have told me that their relatives have stopped visiting them because of bad roads. I will also bring in a government university, government colleges and model schools. I shall also work on reviving the leather industry, sports goods manufacturing units and forging units.

When are big leaders, including Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi, coming for your campaign in Jalandhar?

I have told the party that I do not need big leaders for my campaign. My every worker is my leader and all of them are unitedly fighting my election.

The ECI action against you over your statement on Poonch attack is expected anytime. They have already taken it as a code violation. So how shall you handle it?

I have said nothing which amounts to violation. This is all an attempt to disturb me in election time. As people have already started saying that I am winning, there is an attempt to get me disqualified. They want my candidature to get rejected so that I am no longer in the race. But I will not let this happen. I expect the ECI to issue me a notice first and seek my reply before acting against me.

Is your PhD on Congress helping you in election time?

Yes, it is. Education never goes waste. For the same reason, my passion for studying more remains ignited even at 61. Now I am planning to pursue MA Economics soon. Once I complete it, I will do doctorate degree, too, in the subject.

#Chamkaur Sahib #Charanjit Channi #Congress #Lok Sabha


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