New Delhi: On Monday, Charanjit Singh Channi took oath as the Chief Minister of Punjab, becoming the first Dalit CM of the state.
While many have been calling it a political masterstroke by the Congress party to break into the Dalit votes which are leaning towards Aam Aadmi Party and with BSP allying with SAD, but was ‘Dalit Factor’ even a consideration for Congress high command?
Sources say that Channi was only the last best option for Congress and that’s why the elevation. Gandhi’s initially wanted party and family loyalist Amboy Soni to take charge. However, that offer was declined by her.
Post that Congress high command was literally left clueless as to who could now become the CM for Punjab after Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down on Saturday evening.
Former state chief Sunil Jhakhar, a Hindu, showed his desire to take over, as a Hindu CM and Jat Sikh party chief looked like the perfect balancing act. But then came the sanction of Navjot Singh Sidhu. Who clearly was not keen on Jhakhar’s elevation.
Then came the name of Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, now the Deputy CM of Punjab. But again, Sidhu wasn’t happy with another Jat Sikh being elevated, even though he is a known Sidhu loyalist.
Post that the party was left with not much option, with a Hindu and Jat Sikh being out of the way, getting a Dalit seemed to be the only option for Congress high command. Hence, Charanjit Singh Channi was nominated to become the next Chief Minister of Punjab, am interim CM, as just moments after his elevation, Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat made it clear that the party will go to polls in the name of Navjot Singh Sidhu.
So was Dalit appeasement a conscious decision of Gandhis or was it the only resort for them? Looks like it was the latter.