Chandigarh: Charanjit Singh Channi will be sworn-in as Punjab’s new Chief Minister today after Amarinder Singh’s weekend resignation just months before polls in the state. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will attend the swearing-in ceremony.
Earlier, reports suggested that Rahul Gandhi would give a miss to the ceremony, likely because of Covid – but sources say the Congress leader has decided to make an exception, given the tumultuous circumstances of the Punjab power shift.
Mr Channi, 58, a three-time MLA and a minister in the outgoing Amarinder Singh cabinet, is known to be close to Mr Sidhu. He has limited appeal, compared to either Amarinder Singh or Mr Sidhu, but the Congress hopes that the self-made Dalit politician who has risen from the ranks can help settle the unrest.
Mr Channi was named after dramatic talks and negotiations on Sunday that saw at least two more candidates edged out of the race. The party's first pick, Ambika Soni, reportedly declined the offer in a late-night meeting with Rahul Gandhi; she stressed on the ramifications of a non-Sikh Chief Minister, particularly with an election due.