Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Charanjit Singh Channi shortly after he took oath as Punjab Chief Minister along with two deputies today. "Congratulations to Shri Charanjit Singh Channi Ji on being sworn-in as Punjab's Chief Minister. Will continue to work with the Punjab government for the betterment of the people of Punjab," PM Modi tweeted.
Congratulations to Shri Charanjit Singh Channi Ji on being sworn-in as Punjab's Chief Minister. Will continue to work with the Punjab government for the betterment of the people of Punjab.- Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 20, 2021
Mr Channi, who is Punjab's first Dalit Sikh Chief Minister, succeeds Amarinder Singh, who resigned this weekend amid a feud with Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. A three-time MLA, Mr Channi was a minister in the Amarinder Singh cabinet.
Mr Channi will have two deputies - Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Om Prakash Soni.
Rahul Gandhi - who has faced heavy criticism over his handling of the Punjab Congress crisis - was among the senior party leaders who attended the oath ceremony at the Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh.
"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," Mr Gandhi tweeted yesterday after Mr Channi's name was made official.
Known to be close to Mr Sidhu, Mr Channi was chosen for the post after much back-and-forth on Sunday that saw at least two more candidates edged out of the race. The party's first pick, Ambika Soni turned down the offer during a meeting with Rahul Gandhi, reportedly stressing on the ramifications of a non-Sikh Chief Minister as the Congress seeks re-election.
The Congress is betting on the vote of Dalits, constituting around 31 per cent of Punjab's population. However, the community has never voted cohesively for any one leader in the past.