Ground Report | New Delhi: First Dalit Chief-Minister of Punjab; Charanjit Singh Channi is the first such leader of the Dalit community in Punjab who is getting a chance to take over the responsibility of the Chief Minister of the state. He is going to take oath on Monday at 11 am.
After the resignation of Captain Amarinder Singh, the discussion of names for the post of Chief Minister of Navjot Singh Sidhu, Sunil Jakhar, Ambika Soni, and Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa from the Congress had intensified. But the Congress high command surprised everyone by announcing the name of Charanjit Singh Channi as the new Chief Minister of Punjab.
It is being said everywhere in the political circles that Congress has tried to play the Dalit card four months before the Punjab Assembly, but that does not diminish the importance that it is a historic event in Punjab politics.
First Dalit Chief-Minister of Punjab
Charanjit Singh Channi, the third time MLA from Chamkaur Sahib Vidhan Sabha, is a first-generation politician. In 2007, Channi won the assembly elections for the first time, and that too was an independent candidate. But former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh made him join the Congress. He won the 2012 assembly elections on a Congress ticket.
The political journey of 58-year-old Charanjit Singh Channi began in the year 1996 when he became the chairman of Kharar Municipality. During this, he came in contact with senior Congress leader Ramesh Dutt. Channi was associated with Ramesh Dutt since his early days in politics. Although Channi was also in touch with Congress Dalit leader Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, he could not get a ticket in the 2007 elections. Channi decided that he would contest from Chamkaur Sahib as an independent candidate and he won.
In 2012, when Captain Amarinder Singh gave him the ticket, he again won the assembly elections. From 2015 to 2016, he was also the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Legislative Assembly, succeeding Sunil Jakhar.
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Punjab Congress Committee
Charanjit Singh Channi also made his way into the Congress high command and is believed to have good relations with Congress leader Ambika Soni. Channi became a minister for the first time in Captain Amarinder Singh’s government after winning the 2017 election.
Channi was also among those who led the voices raised about the unfulfilled promises of Captain Amarinder Singh’s government. Channi is also said to have supported giving the command of Punjab Congress Committee to Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Channi was also among the ministers and MLAs of Punjab who had gone to Dehradun to meet state Congress in-charge Harish Rawat. According to the affidavit filed by Channi in the 2017 assembly elections, he had assets worth about Rs 14.53 crore at that time.