Charanjit Channi Gets Punjab CM Chair as Congress Balances Egos And Caste Equations Ahead of 2022

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Charanjit Singh Channi was chosen as the brand new Punjab chief minister by the Congress on Sunday, after 24 hours of hectic parley following the resignation of Captain Amarinder Singh. This makes Channi, a Ramdasia Sikh, the primary Dalit to carry the submit. He is MLA from Chamkaur Sahib constituency and remained a minister in Amarinder’s cupboard.

The anointment of a brand new CM in Punjab is a direct results of Navjot Singh Sidhu prevailing over Amarinder. In that context, Sidhu has apparently backed Channi, who’s being thought of a baton holder earlier than the occasion tasks Sidhu as its face for the 2022 marketing campaign.

Channi’s identify got here after a number of different names, caste concerns and non secular equations have been mentioned throughout the occasion. The most distinguished identify being thrown round on Saturday was that of Sunil Kumar Jakhar, who was the state Congress unit chief earlier than Sidhu succeeded him two months in the past. Sidhu is alleged to be the efficient high chief of the occasion in Punjab after Amarinder fell out of favour due to reported anti-incumbency forward of meeting polls due early subsequent yr.

Sunil Jakhar is a Hindu Jat chief, so the occasion was reported to be eyeing the Hindu inhabitants that types 38 per cent of Punjab. Later, former union minister Ambika Soni was additionally being thought of however she reportedly declined the provide and mentioned a Sikh must be CM. Sikhs are greater than 62 per cent of Punjab’s inhabitants. Punjab has, in truth, by no means had a Hindu CM after the reorganisation of states in 1966.

Soni was being seen as a shock consideration by political observers as nicely as a result of, whereas a Punjabi ethnically, she is seen as an outsider in state politics. She had misplaced from the Anantpur Sahib seat within the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The identify being thought of simply earlier than Channi’s was that of Dera Baba Nanak MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa. A minister within the Punjab authorities, Randhawa is seen as a strongman from the Majha area of Punjab, the opposite two areas being Malwa and Doaba. Randhawa was as soon as thought of a loyalist of Amarinder Singh, however converted to Sidhu’s aspect when the Sidhu-Amarinder energy tussle ensued. He is a Jat Sikh, and his appointment may have been seen as business-as-usual so far as caste equations re involved in Punjab. Randhawa was reportedly opposed by Sidhu as nicely as a result of his Jat Sikh prominence and political expertise may have meant that he wouldn’t quietly step apart if the occasion projected Sidhu because the CM’s face for the following election. Channi, in that sense, is comparatively low-profile and emerged as an acceptable compromise candidate, notably due to his being Dalit and the symbolism connected therewith.

Ultimately, the truth that Dalits represent nearly one-third of Punjab’s inhabitants throughout religions seems to have sealed it in favour of Channi, who additionally remained chief of opposition within the meeting within the earlier time period.

The BJP, being seen as weak in Punjab, following its breakup with the Akali Dal over the farm legal guidelines had already declared that it’s going to concentrate on the Dalit vote in Punjab. At one level, considered one of its leaders had even mentioned {that a} Dalit can be made CM if the occasion involves energy. The Akali Dal and the AAP have each introduced that they might give a deputy CM’s submit, not less than, to a Dalit if elected. The Akalis have even tied up with the BSP to bolster its pro-Dalit credentials.

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