Charanjit Singh Channi to succeed Amarinder Singh as Punjab CM
The Indian National Congress has picked Charanjit Singh Channi to be the new Chief Minister of Punjab. Channi, an MLA from Chamkaur Sahib, will be the first Dalit Sikh to become the state's CM. Channi is set to take over after the sudden exit of Captain Amarinder Singh, who resigned from the post on Saturday after being left "humiliated" by the Congress party.
Channi unanimously elected CLP leader: Harish Rawat
Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Rawat announced in a tweet, "It gives me immense pleasure to announce that Charanjit Singh Channi has been unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab." Notably, the announcement came shortly after reports emerged that Dera Baba Nanak MLA Sukhjinder Randhawa's name had been proposed for the top post in the state.
Why was Sukhjinder Randhawa rejected?
Reportedly, the Congress party decided against nominating Randhawa as the state unit chief, Navjot Singh Sidhu, objected against him. The party is looking for a face with maximum internal support. After Channi was announced as CM, Randhawa said, "I am happy with the high command's decision... I want to thank all the MLAs who have supported me. Channi is my brother."
Channi's elevation to help Congress gain Dalit votes
Channi has been named the new CM ahead of the 2022 Punjab elections, i.e., his term will be short. His elevation is expected to help Congress gain votes within the Dalit community, which constitutes roughly 33% of the entire Punjab population. Congress leader Ajay Maken said Governor Banwarilal Purohit has asked Channi and other party leaders to meet him at 6:30 pm.
Who is Charanjit Singh Channi?
In the early 2000s, Channi had won local polls from Kharar on a Congress ticket. In the 2007 Assembly polls, he had rebelled against a party nominee and decided to successfully contest as an independent. He then associated himself with the Shiromani Akali Dal before returning to the Congress in 2010. In October 2018, a woman IAS officer had accused him of sexual harassment.
What was the sexual harassment case against Channi?
In October 2018, a woman IAS officer alleged the Channi had sent her an "inappropriate" text. Amarinder Singh had confirmed the development the next day, however, he had claimed that the issue had been "resolved." The state tried reopening the case after Channi rebelled against Amarinder Singh. This May, the Punjab Women's Commission had sought a reply from the Punjab government on the complaint.
Why did Amarinder Singh resign?
Singh had resigned on Saturday in what is viewed as the culmination of a long-drawn feud between him and Sidhu. On Friday, at a meeting of Congress MLAs, 50 of 80 legislators wrote to party chief Sonia Gandhi, asking her to replace Singh. Singh said he had been "humiliated three times by Congress leadership" and defended his administration's track record.