‘Need to rise above politics of religion and caste’: Punjab CM Charanjit Channi at HTLS
Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi said on Saturday that “poverty is not a curse” and people should try to change their status, while giving his own example and journey to becoming the chief minister while speaking at Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS). He also refused the claim that his ascension is with an eye on votes of minority community ahead of the elections. Channi belongs to the Dalit community.
“It’s the change if an era - power is going from elite class to the common people. Congress worked on the principal propagated by Guru Gobind Singh,” Channi told Hindustan Times’ national political editor Sunetra Choudhury.
“I was surprised when Rahul Gandhi called me and said I am going to be the next chief minister is Punjab. I could not believe what was being said from the other side. I pleaded to give power to someone else, but he insisted that I will be the new CM. So, I accepted but started crying – didn’t know if those were tears of happiness or what,” he added.
I never sought this and has been made possible due to democracy, said Channi, adding that politics has no class or caste.
When asked if his appointment as chief minister is meant to garner votes of the Dalit community - which constitutes 30% of Punjab’s population - Channi said it has nothing to do with politics.
“The Congress party took a democratic step and gave power to a person like me, who comes from a marginalised community. And I have been working to make lives of these communities better,” said Channi.
He said there is a need to rise above politics of religion and caste and work towards the betterment of the people and call for the
Channi took oath as the 16th chief minister of Punjab in September. He is the first Dalit leader to head the state.