Congress’ Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday took oath as the 16th chief minister of Punjab, replacing Captain Amarinder Singh who resigned on Saturday amid the ongoing political tussle with the party’s state unit president Navjot Singh Sidhu. The 58-year-old Dalit Sikh leader was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Banwarilal Purohit at a simple ceremony. He took the oath in Punjabi. Punjab affairs in-charge Harish Rawat and Navjot Singh Sidhu were also present at the ceremony.
Born in Punjab’s Bhajauli village near Kurali in 1963, Channi has quickly risen through the ranks in the Congress party. He has also served as a member of the assembly three times from the Chamkaur Sahib constituency. Channi also served as technical education minister in Amarinder Singh’s cabinet.
Before the swearing-in ceremony, Channi met Harish Rawat. Later in the day, Channi is scheduled to meet Amarinder Singh.
Amarinder Singh resigned from the post of Punjab chief minister on Saturday following months of infighting between him and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. The resignation came less than an hour before Congress held a legislature party (CLP) meeting, which was originally planned to mitigate the infighting.
Following Amarinder Singh’s resignation and hours of meetings and deliberations, the party unanimously elected Channi as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) of Punjab on Sunday. Rahul Gandhi congratulated Channi after the announcement. “Congratulations to Shri Charanjit Singh Channi Ji for the new responsibility. We must continue to fulfill the promises made to the people of Punjab. Their trust is of paramount importance,” Gandhi tweeted.
Punjab Congress leaders Brahm Mohindra and Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa will be the two deputies to Charanjit Singh Channi as the state heads to the assembly elections next year. The Congress has 80 MLAs in the state assembly.