Chandigarh: Congress party has announced that Charanjit Singh Channi has been elected as the leader of the Punjab Congress Legislative Party (CLP), paving the way for his appointment as the Chief Minister.
Channi, 49, took oath at 11:30 am on Monday (September 19).
The development comes a day after Congress veteran Amarinder Singh resigned as chief minister amid a bitter power tussle with state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Punjab state goes into Assembly polls in less than five months.
“It gives me immense pleasure to announce that Sh. #CharanjitSinghChanni has been unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab,” AICC general secretary Harish Rawat said in a tweet.
A minister in the outgoing Amarinder Singh cabinet, Channi’s selection assumes significance as the dissension-riven Congress faces the Assembly polls in less than five months.
The BJP had earlier announced that if voted to power in Punjab, it will make a Dalit the chief minister, while the SAD, which is fighting the coming polls in alliance with the BSP, had said that its Deputy Chief Minister would be from the Dalit community.
Channi met the Punjab Governor and staked claim to form government, sources said, adding that Rawat and the party’s central observers Ajay Maken and Harish Chaudhary accompanied him.
Amarinder Singh said he hopes that Channi is able to keep “the border state of Punjab safe”.
“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,” he said.
Reacting to the announcement made by Harish Rawat, Congress party General Secretary, Congress leader Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa welcomed the decision and added that he looks at Channi as his younger brother.
“It’s high command’s decision…, I welcome it. Channi is like my younger brother…I am not at all disappointed,” Congress leader Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said after AICC announced that Charanjit Singh Channi will be the new Punjab Chief Minister.
Another senior leader, Brahm Mohindra, too welcomed the election of Channi, who is considered close to state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Early in the day, hectic talks were held to finalise the name of new leader of the CLP, a day after Amarinder Singh resigned as the chief minister amid a bitter power tussle with Sidhu.
Rawat, Maken and Harish Chaudhary who have been camping at a hotel here held discussions with the MLAs and took their feedback.
(Inputs from PTI)