Congress Choice Charanjit Singh Channi to be First Dalit CM of Punjab

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Charanjit Singh

The three-time MLA was a minister in the Amarinder Cabinet; in the past he has also been Leader of Opposition in state Assembly

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – The suspense over the successor to Amarinder Singh ended on Sunday with Congress President Sonia Gandhi clearing the name of Dalit cabinet minister Charanjit Singh Channi as the next Punjab Chief Minister.

Channi, who was the Technical Educational and Industrial Training Minister in the Amarinder Singh government, was, for quite some time, a hard critic of the chief minister.

His appointment was announced by state party in charge Harish Rawat on Twitter.

It is learnt that the newly-appointed leader of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) is meeting Governor Banwarilal Purohit to stake claim to form the new government.

The 48-year-old Channi has also been Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly during the Parkash Singh Badal-led Akali-BJP government.

Meanwhile, the outgoing greeted Channi through a tweet: “My best wishes to Charanjit Singh Channi. I hope he’s able to keep the border state of Punjab safe and protect our people from the growing security threat from across the border.”

Channi, the three-time MLA from Chamkaur Sahib constituency, will be the first Dalit chief minister of Punjab.

He was among the section of Punjab Congress MLAs who put pressure on the party high command for a change in the state leadership.

A #MeToo case is also pending against Channi for allegedly sending an inappropriate text to a woman Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer in 2018. The woman never filed a complaint and Captain Amarinder, the then chief minister, had said the issue was “resolved”.

But the case resurfaced in May this year when the Punjab Women’s Commission sent notice to the state government asking for its response to the allegation.

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