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Meet Charanjit Singh Channi, Punjab’s first Dalit CM

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The 58-year-old Congress leader is an MLA from the Chamkaur Sahib Assembly constituency. Charanjit Singh Channi's appointment is being seen as an effort to balance caste equations ahead of the state polls.

Meet Charanjit Singh Channi, Punjab’s first Dalit CM
Charanjit Singh Channi, the first leader to become Punjab Chief Minister, took oath on Monday. This comes a day after Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down following dissent from over 50 MLAs.
After the announcement of Channi's name, Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was seen as a frontrunner for the post, tweeted, "Historic!! Punjab's first Dalit CM-Designate… Will be written with Golden letters in History. A tribute to the spirit of the Constitution and the Congress!!"
In a similar vein, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "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."
Who is Charanjit Singh Channi?
The 58-year-old Congress leader is an MLA from the Chamkaur Sahib Assembly seat. He comes from the Scheduled Caste community, which comprises almost one-third of Punjab's population.
Channi was born on March 1, 1963, in Makrona Kalan village near Chamkaur Sahib. He holds an MBA degree and is also presently pursuing Ph.D. from Panjab University.
Before becoming an MLA, he was a municipal councillor for three terms. He has served as the president of the Kharar municipal council for two terms. In 2007, Channi was elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha for the first time from the Chamkaur Sahib constituency. He was re-elected in 2012 and 2017.
He was the leader of opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 2015. He was the Minister for Technical Education and Industrial Training Employment Generation and also Science and Technology in the Captain Amarinder Singh government.
He was also among the state leaders who had revolted against the former chief minister.
Controversies
Channi has his own share of controversies as a political leader. As per his close circles, Channi is a strong believer in astrology and keeps on doing funny things on the advice of his astrologer to rise in politics. Just a few days after he became the Cabinet Minister in 2017, he illegally constructed a road from a park outside his official residence in Chandigarh, reportedly on the advice of his astrologer, to get a south-facing entry to the government accommodation. The Chandigarh administration later raged the road.
In December 2017, he was reportedly seen riding an elephant near his house in the Kharar area after a suggestion from his astrologer. This funny act went viral on social media.
Channi was accused of sending an "inappropriate text", by a woman IAS officer in 2018. In May this year, Punjab women panel chief, Manisha Gulati, had threatened to go on a hunger strike if the state government failed to apprise her, within a week, of its stand on the issue.
After Channi was picked up for the CM post, BJP's IT cell head Amit Malviya tweeted, "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. Well done, Rahul."
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