Congress announces Charanjit Singh Channi as the CM face in Punjab
Deccan Chronicle.| Ashhar Khan
Mr Channi, a three-time MLA from Chamkaur Sahib, was sworn in as the first Dalit CM of Punjab after Capt. Amarinder Singh quit last year
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with Punjab Congress leaders Charanjit Singh Channi, Navjot Singh Sidhu at an election rally, in Ludhiana, Sunday, Feb. 06, 2022. (PTI)
New Delhi: After weeks of speculation and grandstanding, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday announced Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi as the CM face of the party for the upcoming Assembly polls. Announcing the decision at a virtual rally in Ludhiana, Mr Gandhi said, "It is not a decision of Rahul Gandhi but of Punjab. People told us that we need a person who can understand the poor. I can have an opinion but I can’t decide. People of Punjab said we want a ‘gareeb ghar ka CM’, I agreed to it."
Mr Channi, a three-time MLA from Chamkaur Sahib, was sworn in as the first Dalit CM of Punjab after Capt. Amarinder Singh quit last year. After the decision, Mr Channi said, "I thank everyone. This is a big battle which I can’t fight alone. I don’t have the money, courage to fight it. The people of Punjab will fight this
Interestingly on Sunday the warring clans of the Punjab Congress put up a unique show of unity as Mr Gandhi arrived in Punjab. Sunil Jakhar, the former state unit chief, drove the car for Mr Gandhi, while Mr Channi and Navjot Singh Sidhu sat in the back. Opening the address on Sunday, Mr Jakhar, who was apparently miffed with the Congress high command, heaped praises on Mr Gandhi and said making Mr Channi the chief minister was a masterstroke. Mr Sidhu also gave an emotional speech about Punjab and praised Mr Gandhi and his decisions. Finally, Mr Gandhi, after praising the bench strength of the Congress, announced Mr Channi as the CM face.
State unit chief Sidhu and Mr Channi were in contention to be named the CM face of the party. Mr Sidhu had made no secret of his ambition to be named as the CM face. In fact, his statements were being perceived as trying to arm-twist the high command into naming him the CM face. He was also campaigning across the state trying to launch his Punjab model.
In the last couple of months Mr Sidhu has been blowing hot and cold within the party. As of now, Mr Sidhu seems to have made peace with the situation. "During 17 years of political career, Sidhu never lived for any post, but always wanted Punjab’s betterment and improvement in lives of its people," he said earlier in the day. He had made it clear that he will abide by the high command’s decision.