- Ranjit Singh Channi will be sworn in today.
- The swearing-in ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. at the Raj Bhavan.
- Amarinder Singh congratulates Chan
With just months to go before the Assembly elections and the pressure from Capt Amarinder Singh, the outgoing Chief Minister, will be a challenge for Channi. It is reported that a cabinet will be formed with more emphasis on dalits ahead of the elections. There is strong pressure from the Dalit Sikh community, the main vote bank in Punjab. There is an unconfirmed report that there will be two Deputy Chief Ministers in the new cabinet with the aim of upholding the caste equation.
Senior ministers may be retained in the new cabinet to prevent further escalation in the party following the resignation of Amarinder Singh. According to national media reports, the High Command has decided to appoint Charanjit Singh Channi as the Chief Minister following pressure from Punjab PCC president Navjot Singh Sidhu. The name of Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa came up as discussions were on as to who would be Amarinder’s successor. But Sidhu’s opposition led to a change in the decision.
In Punjab, the state with the largest Dalit population in the country, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal has reserved 20 seats for the BSP in the Assembly elections targeting Dalit votes. The Akali Dal had earlier stated that it would give the post of Deputy Chief Minister to the Dalits. In view of these moves, Sidhu put pressure on the High Command to make Charanjit Singh Chan the first Dalit Chief Minister of Punjab.
With the appointment of Charanjit Singh Channi as the Chief Minister, Sidhu was able to present to the High Command the possibility of 35 per cent Dalit votes in favor of the state. In Punjab, the Congress is planning to discuss the appointment of a Dalit chief minister in the Uttar Pradesh elections as well. Apart from Kerala, the High Command is also intervening strongly in Punjab. Captain Amarinder Singh congratulated Charanjit Singh Channi on his appointment as the new Chief Minister of Punjab. He said he hoped the new chief minister would be able to keep Punjab safe.
With only months to go before the Assembly elections, the Congress leadership has a responsibility to persuade Amarinder. The party is of the view that if Amarinder is not sided with him as a popular face, there will be setbacks. It was in this context that the leadership came to the conclusion that Sidhu should not be considered for the post of Chief Minister. But Sidhu is trying to hold on to the party and become the next chief minister. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. With this, the Congress has formed a team of legal experts to prevent the removal of the captain.
Inspection at Kannur Central Jail; Weapons buried