Charanjit Singh Channi takes oath as Punjab CM

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Chandigarh: Charanjit Singh Channi, Chamkaur Sahib MLA, who was elected Congress Legislature Party leader, took oath as Punjab CM here on Monday.

Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and OP Soni took oath as deputy CMs.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attended the ceremony.

Channi is Punjab’s first Scheduled Caste CM.

Flanked by Rawat, PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and AICC-appointed observers Harish Chaudhary and Ajay Maken, Channi met Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit in the evening to stake claim to forming a government.

A minister in the outgoing Capt Amarinder Singh-led Cabinet, Channi’s election as the Congress Legislature Party leader came a day after Capt Amarinder quit amid bitter infighting in the Pradesh Congress. Channi’s tenure will be short as Punjab goes to the polls early next year. A confidant of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, he is believed to be one of the architects of the coup against Capt Amarinder Singh. He played a crucial role in bringing Sidhu and Majha stalwarts Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and MP Partap Bajwa on a common platform against Capt over “unkept” poll promises.

Channi emerged as a dark horse. The AICC-appointed observers and Rawat had reportedly zeroed in on Sukhjinder Randhawa’s name, but Sidhu vehemently opposed the decision. The party high command then chose Channi. Post reorganisation, Punjab has had only Jat CMs, the only exceptions being Giani Zail Singh from the Ramgarhia community, and Gurmukh Singh Musafir, a Khatri.

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