Chandigarh: Congress in a surprise move in Punjab announced Charanjit Singh Channi, a Dalit leader, as the new Chief Minister of Punjab, a day after Captain Amarinder Singh quit from the CM's post.
Channi is the first Dalit chief minister of Punjab.
The three time MLA from Chamkaur Sahib assembly seat, Channi's was made CM of Punjab, months ahead of the polls, as rivals Shiromani Akal Dal and Aam Aadmi Party have been wooing voters from the Scheduled Caste communities.
Channi, who has served as the leader of opposition in the Punjab assembly from 2015 to 2016, comes from the Ramdasia Sikh community, a dominant Dalit community in the state.
His appointment has however been shadowed by an allegation of sexual harassment. The issue was raked up by BJP IT Cell Chief Amit Malviya.
"Congress’s CM pick Charanjit Channi faces action in a 3-year-old #MeToo case. He had allegedly sent an inappropriate text to a woman IAS officer in 2018. It was covered up but the case resurfaced when Punjab Women's Commission sent notice," Malviya said in a Tweet.
Channi was made a minister in the Captain Amarinder Singh government in March 2017 and held the portfolio of Technical Education and Industrial Training in Captain's outgoing cabinet.
Born on April 2, 1972, in village Makrona Kalan near Chamkaur Sahib, Charanjit received his primary education from a government primary School. He was born to a poor family to father Harsa Singh and mother Ajmer Kaur.
He participated in political activities during his school days and was elected president of the school student union. He was elected as a member to the Punjab assembly for the first time in 2007 as an Independent candidate.
As a testament to the faith placed by the people of his constituency in him he was able to repeat the success in the year 2012 and again in 2017 on a Congress ticket.
Channi, who is a law graduate, is a firm believer that the ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge through education is the most important aspect of human life. (UNI)