Amid the crisis that broke out in Punjab with Captain Amrinder Singh’s resignation, the Congress high command decided to give the state its first Dalit Chief Minister with Charanjit Singh Channi.
Captain handed in his resignation citing humiliation after many MLAs rebelled against him in order to change the state leadership. This started with the appointment of Navjot Singh Sidhu as the state unit chief, which started a long stretched fight.
Channi, who took the oath of office Monday morning and secrecy by governor Banwarilal Purohit, was among the MLAs who rallied their support against Captain. He was also one of the signatories to the letter that called for a CLP meeting that led Captain to resign.
The ceremony took place in the Raj Bhavan in Chandigarh, where Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Rawat and other MLAs were present. Although Captain tweeted his response to the appointment of Channi but decided to skip the ceremony.
“‘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,” Captain Amrinder Singh wrote on Twitter.
The three-time MLA from Rupnagar’s Chamkaur Sahib, Channi has been in charge of technical education under Captain’s regime.
Rahul Gandhi, who attended the ceremony and met the newly appointed Chief Minister of Punjab, also tweeted the news himself to congratulate Channi.
“Congratulations to Shri Charanjit Singh Channi Ji for the new responsibility. We must continue to fulfil the promises made to the people of Punjab. Their trust is of paramount importance,” he wrote.
Broiled up in controversies during his tenure as an MLA, Channi surely created a ripple effect which might be seen in the two other states where Congress is in power, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
Gehlot, who has witnessed some resistance from the former deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot camp, defended the high command’s decision to change the leadership in Punjab.
“I personally believe that the Congress president chooses the CM at the risk of inviting displeasure of several leaders who are in the race for chief ministership.
However, when the same chief minister is changed, he/she is displeased and holds the decision wrong. One should listen to one’s inner voice in such moments,” Gehlot tweeted.
With months ahead of the assembly elections, political parties have been changing their frontrunners, some due to disputes and some due to the hope of wave elections.
Recent examples have been Gujarat, where one-time MLA Bhupendra Patel has been appointed as the Chief Minister, Uttarakhand where there has been a repetitive change in the leadership and now Punjab.