Congress leader Chiranjit Singh Channi will be the new Chief Minister of Punjab. Channi, the outgoing technical education minister, was elected as the leader of the Congress Legislative Party, day after Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down from the post. A Dalit face of the Congress, Channi’s elevation to the top post may signal the party’s push ahead of 2022 assembly elections in Punjab, where the community approximately makes 33 per cent of the general population. Channi was the Leader of Opposition in Vidhan Sabha during the previous SAD-BJP regime. Channi was reportedly vocal against Amarinder for “not paying attention” to issues raised by party leaders.
It gives me immense pleasure to announce that Sh. #CharanjitSinghChanni has been unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab.@INCIndia @RahulGandhi @INCPunjab pic.twitter.com/iboTOvavPd
— Harish Rawat (@harishrawatcmuk) September 19, 2021
Channi’s appointment as state CM was announced by state-in-charge Harish Rawat, who tweeted: “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.”
Earlier, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa’s name was doing the rounds among the probables to be the new leader. Mr Randhawa’s name, however, was reportedly met with doubts by some party MLAs and the Congress high command – keen to ensure the new Chief Minister has the maximum internal support – quickly switched tack.
“I am happy with high command’s decision…. I want to thank all the MLAs who have supported me. Channi is my brother…” Mr Randhawa said soon after Charanjit Channi was announced as Chief Minister.
Following his resignation on Saturday, Capt Amarinder Singh said he’d resigned in humiliation and said he was keeping his options open. He’d also vowed to ensure his arch political rival Navjot Singh Sidhu would never get the position. Amarinder Singh’s decision forced the Congress to huddle together urgently to find an acceptable successor.