'Withdraw farm laws'; Punjab's new CM to Centre after oath-taking
After taking oath as Punjab's new Chief Minister, Charanjit Singh Channi urged the Centre to withdraw the farm laws on Monday. In his first address as CM, Channi vowed to protect farmers, saying he is a representative of the "common man, the farmer" and those "oppressed." Notably, Channi took over as CM after his predecessor Captain Amarinder Singh resigned from the post on Saturday.
Appealing to the Centre, Channi said, "We have to strengthen Punjab...It is the state of farmers...I appeal to the Centre to withdraw the farm laws." "I will sever my head...but I won't let any harm come to the farmers." Farmers across India—particularly in the agricultural states of Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh—have been protesting against the contentious farm laws for over nine months.
In his address, Channi said he would end corruption in government offices, vowing that either corrupt officers would stay or he would stay. Channi said he is not a representative of the rich, adding, "Those who are into sand-mining and other illegal activities, don't come to me. I am not your representative." He further added that the new government under him will ensure transparency.
Thanking the Congress party for choosing a "common man" for the top post, Channi said, "Party is supreme. CM is not supreme. Congress ideology will be followed." "We will all be united. Nobody will be able to separate us on the lines of caste and religion," he asserted. He said his government would implement an 18-point program given by the party high command soon.
Channi also praised his predecessor Captain Singh for his good work during his tenure as Punjab CM. "He is also known as the protector of water rights. He is our party leader," he said.
Channi took oath as 16th Chief Minister of Punjab after Captain Singh stepped down on Saturday. Notably, 58-year-old Channi is the first Dalit CM of the state. Channi has been assigned two deputy CMs: Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and OP Soni. His elevation to the top post came amid a months-long power tussle between Captain Singh and Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.