Mayawati says Congress yet to trust Dalits fully as Channi becomes Punjab CM

The BSP supremo also said Channi’s appointment for the top post appeared to be a poll gimmick and would have been better had he been made the CM earlier.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati. (File photo)
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati. (File photo)
Published on Sep 20, 2021 12:47 PM IST
Copy Link | Written by Sohini Goswami, New Delhi

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati said on Monday Charanjit Singh Channi’s appointment as the next chief minister of Punjab appeared to be a poll gimmick while congratulating the latter for his new role. She also hit out at the Congress over Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat’s reported statement that the next assembly election in the state would be contested under party president Navjot Singh Sidhu.

The 58-year-old Channi, who was sworn-in by governor Banwarilal Purohit at a simple ceremony in the Raj Bhavan, became the first Dalit Sikh to head the state. Channi's name was announced by the Congress a day after Amarinder Singh put in his papers citing humiliation following months of power-sharing tussle.

Mayawati said the Congress’ move to contest the state polls under a non-Dalit meant the grand old party did not fully trust the community. Also, it revealed the Congress was apprehensive of the alliance the BSP had formed with the Akalis.

Also read | PM Modi congratulates new Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi

“I congratulate Charanjit Singh Channi on becoming Punjab CM. It would have been better if he had been appointed as CM earlier,” the BSP head was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

“I have also come to know through media that the next Punjab assembly elections will be fought under the leadership of a non-Dalit. This means the Congress still does not fully trust the Dalits. Congress is also scared of the SAD-BSP alliance in Punjab,” the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said.

In June this year, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and BSP joined hands for the 2022 Assembly election in the state with leaders of the two parties calling it a “historic” move that would usher in inclusive development in the state.

Earlier in the day, veteran Congress leader and former state unit chief Sunil Jakhar said he was baffled by Rawat’s statement that election in the state would be led by Sidhu. He said Rawat’s announcement coming on the day of Channi's swearing-in could undermine the latter’s authority while also justify his selection for the position.


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