After the ruckus of Saturday evening when veteran Amarinder Singh handed over the resignation to the governor before five months to the state election, the last 24 hours were full of dramatic twists and turns.
Ambika Soni Rajya Sabha MP appeared as the contender, but she refused by saying that a Sikh leader should be made the chief minister.
After the cancelation of the CLP meeting at 11 am is about concord, Harish Rawat and the two central observers Ajay Maken and Harish Chaudhary called up MLAs to know their predilection and cabinet minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa emerged as the favorite. Also, the name of former state unit president Sunil Jakhar was almost finalized on Saturday evening with the support of former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
On Sunday Harish Rawat tweeted with tagging former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi “It gives me immense pleasure to announce that Sh. Charanjit Singh Channi has been unanimously elected as the Leader of CLP of Punjab.”
Finally, the surprise announcement of the name of Congress leader Charanjit Singh Channi came after hours of hectic discussion.
He was elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab. He became the first Dalit Chief Minister of the state. He will take oath on Monday at 11 am for the CM post.
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi also tweeted and congratulate Channi.
Amarinder Singh who resigned from the post of Punjab CM on Saturday congratulated the new Captain: “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.” in a tweet by Raveen Thukral, media advisor to Amarinder Singh.
Harish Rawat further informed “Decision (about to choose new Punjab CM) was taken yesterday only, we were only waiting to meet the Governor…The party was unanimous on Charanjit Singh Channi’s name… We will try to ensure that he (Amarinder Singh) is there at oath-taking, but it’s up to him”
Channi is the representative of the Chamkaur Sahib constituency in the state assembly. Amarinder’s relations with Channi were said to be unsettling throughout his occupancy. Channi had been seeking a greater representation of Dalits in the Punjab Cabinet as he belongs to the Ramdasia community and has given their a high percentage to the party. He was among the cabinet ministers who rebelled against Singh. Channi is a close supporter of Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Navjot Singh Sidhu congratulated Channi through Twitter and called the announcement “Historic”, as he is elected as Punjab‘s first Dalit CM.
Some party leaders proclaimed his appointment as a “strategic move” to counter rival parties’ attempts. The Bharatiya Janata Party has promised to pick a deputy chief minister from the community if they get the numbers to form the government in 2022, as well as the Shiromani Akali Dal, has struck an electoral alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party to gain the Dalit voters.
32% Dalits represent almost one-third population of the state. Political analyst Dr. Harpreet Singh Hundal said “Congress has to now strike a caste balance in the state”.
Now we have to see if Channi would be the face of the Congress 2022 election campaign.