In first remarks as Punjab CM, Charanjit Singh Channi says he is aam aadmi
Charanjit Singh Channi got down to business on Monday soon after being sworn in as the chief minister of Punjab—the first Dalit to hold the top post in the state. In his first comments, Channi focussed on the three central farm laws and said his government is with the farmers in their struggle against the legislation.
Calling himself an “aam aadmi” in an apparent dig at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Channi said in this first press conference as the Punjab chief minister that the Congress party has made a common man the CM. “I represent the poor. Aam aadmi's rule has been established,” he said. “The party is supreme, not the CM or the cabinet. The government will work as per the party's ideology,” Channi added.
Flanked by senior party leader Harish Rawat and Congress’ Punjab unit chief, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Channi said, “All outstanding electricity bills of the poor will be waived and their electricity connections will be restored.” “An 18-point agenda will be implemented one by one,” he promised.
The 58-year-old Channi, who succeeded Amarinder Singh as the 16th chief minister of Punjab, praised him. “Captain Amarinder Singh did a lot of good work for the people of Punjab. We will take forward his work,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Charanjit Singh Channi soon after he was sworn in as Punjab chief minister and said the Centre will continue to work with his government. "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,” Modi tweeted.
Charanjit Singh Channi was sworn in as chief minister of Punjab along with Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and OP Soni as his deputies by Governor Banwarilal Purohit at a ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan. Channi took oath in Punjabi. Prominent among those who were present at the oath-taking ceremony were Rahul Gandhi and Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. Amarinder Singh, who resigned as the chief minister two days ago, skipped the ceremony.
Channi has been appointed the Punjab chief minister with less than six months to go before the assembly polls in the state. Experts have said his appointment will allow the party to play the Dalit card in the upcoming elections in the state, which has an estimated 30 per cent of the population belonging to the community.