- Charanjit Singh Channi is a three-time MLA from Rupnagar’s Chamkaur Sahib constituency.
- Channi is the first Dalit Chief Minister of Punjab.
- Following months of political turmoil, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh resigned on Saturday (Sept 18).
On Sunday, a day after Captain Amarinder Singh’s resignation sparked a crisis in the Congress in poll-bound Punjab, Charanjit Singh Channi was selected as his replacement, making him the state’s first Dalit Sikh chief minister.
The CM-designate Channi will swear in as Punjab’s first Dalit chief minister at 11 a.m. on Monday in Chandigarh. On Sunday, the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab picked Channi as its new leader.
“It gives me immense pleasure to announce that Sh. Charanjit Singh Channi has been unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab,” Harish Rawat, the Congress in-charge of Punjab, said in a tweet.
Rahul Gandhi, the Congress leader, congratulated Punjab Chief Minister-elect Charanjit Singh Channi on his new role and stated that the Congress will continue to fulfil its commitments to the people of the state.
“Congratulations Charanjit Singh Channi Ji for the new responsibility. We must continue to fulfill the promises made to the people of Punjab. Their trust is of paramount importance,” Gandhi sent out a tweet.
Who is Charanjit Singh Channi?
Charanjit Singh Channi was born into the Dalit community in the Punjab village of Makrauna Kalan in Rupnagar. He holds a law degree from Panjab University and an MBA from PTU Jalandhar.
Channi was the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Legislative Assembly and also served as Minister of Technical Education and Training in Amarinder Singh cabinet. He is a married man with two children.
From 2015 to 2016, he was the opposition leader in the Punjab Legislative Assembly. In 2017, he was nominated to the Amarinder Singh Cabinet as a minister.
In 2007, he was elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha for the first time from the Chamkaur Sahib Consistency. He was re-elected to the Assembly in 2012 and again in 2017.
The controversy around Charanjit Singh Channi:
In 2018, a controversy developed after a video surfaced showing Channi flipping a coin to pick between two contenders for the professor position. Both the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal urged voters to oust him. The minister stated that both candidates were equal and advised the toss themselves.
Channi was accused of recommending the removal of an Indian Administrative Service official “who he didn’t like” while serving as minister of technical education. In another case, he was accused of sending obscene texts to Kavita Singh, a female IAS official.