‘Shocked’: NCW chief demands Channi’s resignation as Punjab CM over #Metoo case
The National Commission for Women or NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma has demanded the resignation of Charanjit Singh Channi, who on Monday took oath as the 16th chief minister of Punjab, over allegations of sexual harassment against him. Calling Channi’s appointment to be “shameful”, Sharma said the new chief minister needs to be held “accountable and should resign from the post.” “We do not want another woman to go through the same experience and endure the same harassment that the IAS officer would have faced,” the NCW chief added.
The Indian Administrative Service officer accused Channi of sending inappropriate texts to her, but no formal complaint was registered and the issue was resolved following intervention by the former chief minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh. However, the case was reopened in June this year after Punjab Women Commission chairperson Manisha Gulati sought a reply from the Punjab government. This move became an issue within the state Congress circles with ministers supporting Channi calling it a ‘witch hunt’ by the Captain camp.
After Channi’s appointment, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) IT cell head mockingly said “well done, Rahul” to address Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. He referred to the #Metoo allegations against Channi.
On Monday, Sharma said that she was shocked and “utterly disappointed” to find Channi being appointed to the top post of the state. “One can only imagine what would be the state of women's safety in [Punjab] given the one at the helm of affairs is himself accused of threatening women security,” she added.
The NCW chief also stated that if an IAS officer has been denied justice in the state, how can the ruling dispensation make sure that “common women” of Punjab would be safe. “Despite being a woman herself, the Congress chief (Sonia Gandhi) did not consider the #Metoo allegations made against Channi and appointed him the CM,” Sharma noted.
Earlier in the day, BJP’s Punjab in-charge Dushyant Kumar Gautam took a jibe at the Congress party, saying that the only reason they picked Channi is that they want to win Dalit votes. Channi has become the first Dalit leader to be appointed as the chief minister of Punjab. Punjab will go into the polls in 2022.