Punjab Elections 2022: Charanjit Singh Channi will be Congress Chief Ministerial candidate for Punjab

New Delhi:
Charanjit Singh Channi will be Congress Chief Ministerial candidate for Punjab, Rahul Gandhi announced today in another effort to broker peace in its state unit, days ahead of the state elections in which the party is seeking a second term in power.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. The Chief Ministerial face of Punjab, Mr Gandhi said, is not his decision. “I have not decided about it. I asked this to Punjab’s people, youth, members of working committee… I may have an opinion but your opinion is more important than mine… Punjabis told us that we need a person who can understand the poor”.

  2. Mr Gandhi’s announcement came after a telepoll where people were asked to choose between him and Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi. The move, similar to Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, opened the Congress to many jeers.

  3. The telepol and the subsequent announcement was the result of a running feud between the Chief Minister and state party chief Navjot Sidhu, who has made his ambitions clear ever since he joined the Congress from the BJP ahead of the state elections in 2017.

  4. Making it clear that his hand was forced in the matter, Rahul Gandhi had announced at a public meeting on January 27: “Normally, we do not declare a Chief Minister face but if Congress workers want, we will select a face as well. But we will consult Congress workers. They will decide”.

  5. Even after his announcement, Mr Sidhu kept up his attacks on Mr Channi. The last instance was on Friday, when citing the raids on a relation of the Chief Minister, he said the party must choose someone “honest and with a clean track record”. Any Chief Minister choice, he added, should have the backing of at least 60 MLAs.

  6. The closest Mr Sidhu came to his coveted goal was last year when Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down as the Chief Minister after a year-long tussle with a band of rebels MLAs led by Mr Sidhu.

  7. But the party opted for Charanjit Singh Channi, a leader from the Scheduled Caste community, who despite keeping a low profile, made it clear that he was no cipher.

  8. Mr Channi was nominated from two assembly constituencies leading to speculation of him being favoured by the party.

  9. Earlier today, Mr Sidhu tweeted to say that everyone “will abide” by Rahul Gandhi’s decision. “Nothing great was ever achieved without an act of decision… Warm welcome to our leading light Rahul Ji , who comes to give clarity to Punjab…. All will abide by his decision!!!” his post read.

  10. The Congress move comes on a day the nation lost its iconic artiste Lata Mangeshkar who ruled the silver screen for over seven decades. The BJP cancelled the Prime Minister’s virtual rally for Goa and the launch of its manifesto in Uttar Pradesh as a mark of respect.

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