Chandigarh: A day after Captain Amarinder Singh resigned, Chamkaur Sahib MLA, Charanjit Singh Channi, was chosen as the next Punjab Chief Minister. He will be the first Dalit CM of Punjab. Confirming the news, Harish Rawat tweeted, “It gives me immense pleasure to announce that Sh. #CharanjitSinghChanni has been unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab.”
Punjab CM-designate Charanjit Singh Channi’s family reaches Punjab Raj Bhavan- Governor’s House, Chandigarh pic.twitter.com/xQWLBVW9KE
— ANI (@ANI) September 19, 2021
Notaby, Channi was the Leader of Opposition in Vidhan Sabha during the previous SAD-BJP regime. He was inducted as the minister in in the first Cabinet and was allotted the portfolios of Technical Education and Industrial Training, Employment Generation and Training, and Tourism and Culture Affairs. He has been vocal against Amarinder for “not paying attention” to issues raised by party leaders.
Channi had been the flag bearer of Dalit issues in the state and had recently rebelled against Amarinder. He is considered close to AICC leader Rahul Gandhi and became the choice of the Congress high command for the post after two Jat Sikhs Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu opposed the party’s move to appoint a Hindu leader Sunil Jakhar. Channi’s name was announced amid the fight for power among the Jat Sikh leaders.
Congress leader Ambika Soni had turned down the offer to become Punjab’s next Chief Minister at a late-night meeting with her party colleague Rahul Gandhi and had also suggested that not having a Sikh as the Chief Minister has “ramifications”.
As the Congress party deliberated over the issue of the next Punjab chief minister, Ambika Soni’s name was doing the rounds as one of the frontrunners for the top job in the poll-bound state. The senior leader, however, said she doesn’t want to become the Punjab CM.
The CLP, on Saturday, unanimously passed a resolution to give Congress chief Sonia Gandhi power to nominate the new chief minister of Punjab after Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down. On Saturday, the party also asked MLAs for their views verbally and discussed several issues as well, but now they have been asked to give written submissions on the same. Their views will be conveyed to the Congress central leadership and the final decision will be taken at the earliest, party leaders have said.
Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down as the chief minister on Saturday. Hours before his resignation as the CM, he wrote to Congress President Sonia Gandhi expressing anguish over the political events of the last 5 months. These events, Amarinder wrote, were clearly “not based on full understanding of the national imperatives of Punjab and its key concerns.”