Congress hints at Charanjit Singh Channi as Punjab CM face
On Monday, the Indian National Congress tweeted a video that projected Charanjit Singh Channi as the party's chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Punjab polls. In the 36-second clip, actor Sonu Sood speaks on the attributes that make a good CM. The video comes just a day before the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) announced Bhagwant Mann as its CM candidate.
Why does this story matter?
CM Channi is notably locked in a power tussle with state party chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was not seen in the video. This comes just a few weeks before the much-anticipated Punjab elections on February 20. The straight rivalry between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be challenged in Punjab after the AAP won big in December's Chandigarh municipal polls.
What is the video about?
The title of the video is: "Punjab is speaking, now with hand (Congress party's symbol) will strengthen every hand." In the video, Sood says the "real chief minister is the one who does not have to tell he is the chief ministerial candidate". Only such a person can bring change, he says. Following Sood's remark, multiple clips of Channi are shown.
Punjab Youth Congress reiterates message
'Channi best bet in Punjab'
Congress considers Channi to be its "best bet" in Punjab, party sources informed The Indian Express. Congress is projecting Channi as the leader as of now, a party leader reportedly said. "That is the reason the official handle of the Congress tweeted the video," said the leader. "Channi is popular in the surveys." He said that Channi has evolved into a political leader.
Sidhu absent from video
The promotional video did not show Sidhu anywhere. Close associates of Sidhu felt the video did not reveal much information. "We will fight the elections under a collective leadership," said Harish Chaudhary, Congress' secretary in-charge of Punjab. When asked if the decision might be overturned, he said, "There is nothing permanent in politics," adding that the poll will be contested as a team effort.
Channi was appointed CM 3 months ago
After Captain Amarinder Singh resigned as Punjab CM in September 2021, Channi took over. Singh stepped down after a months-long feud with Sidhu. Last Thursday, Sidhu tweeted saying that he is not after any post. He added that "a system which could not give justice to our Guru and could not punish the big fishes involved in drug trade needs to be demolished."
Punjab Assembly Elections 2022
On February 20, Punjab will hold a single-phase election for 117 Legislative Assembly seats. The results of the polls will be announced on March 10. The Congress is vying to retain power with AAP and Akali Dal posing a threat. Meanwhile, former CM Captain Amarinder Singh has launched his own party, the Punjab Lok Congress, and joined hands with the BJP.