Chandigarh, September 19 (PTI): The Congress picked Charanjit Singh Channi as the next chief minister of Punjab on Sunday, a day after Amarinder Singh resigned following a bitter power tussle in the party.

Channi will be the first Dalit to hold the chief minister’s post in the state. He will take oath at 11 am on Monday.

AICC general secretary Harish Rawat said in a tweet, “It gives me immense pleasure to announce that Sh. #CharanjitSinghChanni has been unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab.” 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 Congress naming Channi, a Dalit face who comes from the Rupnagar district in the state’s Malwa belt, assumes significance as Punjab has a population of nearly 32 per cent from the community.

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 its deputy chief minister would be from the Dalit community.

Channi, who is learnt to have got strong backing from the state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu for the post, met Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Sunday evening and staked claim to form the government.

Speaking to reporters after meeting the Governor, Channi said in the wake of the decision taken unanimously by CLP here on Saturday, they went to stake claim to form the government.

“The oath-taking ceremony will take place at 11 am on Monday,” said Channi, flanked by state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, among other leaders.


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Source: PTI