The City Headlines
Ludhiana, September 19
The outgoing Technical Education Minister of Punjab, Charanjit Singh Channi becomes the first Dalit Chief Minister of Punjab. 58-year-old Channi is a three times MLA from Chamkaur Sahib constituency.
As elections are due next year in Punjab, Channi’s appointment as chief minister will play an important role for Congress. The major reason is that Dalits has an estimated population of 32 percent in Punjab. This can also be seen as a counter to Shiromani Akali Dal’s coalition with Bahujan Samaj Party ahead of elections. It is to be noted that the Jatt Sikh community in Punjab contribute 19 percent to the state’s population.
The reports suggest that Congress party high command wanted to choose Sunil Jakhar as the CM of the state. However, MLAs did not agree to it. After that, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa’s name was proposed. Sidhu said that if a Jatt Sikh is to be made the CM, then he should be chosen. If it is not possible, then a Dalit should be made the chief minister. Hence, Charanjit Singh Channi name was proposed.
The news of Channi’s appointment came hours after sources revealed that Randhawa would be named for the chief minister’s post.
Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said that he was happy with the decision. “I thank all the MLAs who supported me. Channi is my younger brother,” he added.
The outgoing CM Captain Amarinder Singh also congratulated Charanjit Singh Channi. He reportedly 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 growing security threats from across the border.”
Rahul Gandhi also congratulated Channi.
The oath-taking ceremony will happen at 11 am on Monday, September 20.