From being a tent boy to becoming the Chief Minister of Punjab, Charanjit Singh Channi’s political career has seen a meteoric rise in the past two decades. After Captain Amarinder Singh tendered his resignation and a lot of discussions, the party agreed to install a Dalit sikh as the new Chief Minister of Punjab.
58 year old Charanjit Singh Channi is a law and management graduate and currently pursuing his Ph.D. He is a three-time legislator from Chamkaur Sahib assembly constituency in Rupnagar district who joined Congress in 2012. He held the portfolios of Technical Education & Industrial Training, Employment Generation & Training, Tourism and Culture Affairs.
Charanjit Singh Channi took birth in a lower middle class family of village Makrona Kalan in Chamkaur Sahib on 2 April, 1972. He belongs to the Ramdasia Sikh community. He made his political debut during his matriculation as a student union leader.
His father struggled to provide them with financial security and moved to Malaysia for some work. Then, he returned to settle in Kharar and started their tent house where Charanjit Singh also worked as a tent boy.
- In 2002, elected as president of the Kharar municipal council.
- In 2007, contested independently from Chamkaur Sahib Assembly constituency (after Congress denied him ticket) and won.
- In 2012, joined Congress and again won from the same constituency.
A Lifelong Student: Educational Qualifications
- Higher Education – Sri Guru Gobind Singh College at Chandigarh
- LLB – Panjab University, Chandigarh
- MBA – Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar
- Another Master’s degree in political science
- He is currently pursuing his PhD from Panjab University.
An All Rounder
Charanjit Singh had also been a good sportsperson who represented Panjab University three times in Handball and received Gold Medal in the Inter-University Sports Meet.
“He also continued playing Handball at the National level. Charanjit Singh Channi also actively participated in NCC, NSS, Cultural Activity and debate competitions throughout his academics,” reads his biography.
Cornered and Humiliated: Captain Amarinder Singh Resigned
“I feel humiliated… I feel they have no confidence in my work,” Captain Amarinder Singh tendered his resignation after months of attempts of top Congress leaders accusing him of being inaccessible and running the government through a coterie of bureaucrats who ran roughshod over elected representatives.
Charanjit Singh was one of the rebellions along with Navjot Singh Sidhu against former Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh. Charanjit’s name was a surprise at the end of day as the party had proposed Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa’s name earlier.
Politician With No Criminal Cases But #Metoo Allegations Against Him
As the news surfaced about Charanjit Singh Channi being appointed as the new CM of Punjab, it was highlighted everywhere that he is a politician who has no criminal cases against him (can be considered as a bigger achievement in Indian politics).
But he is an accused of #metoo allegations. In 2018, a female IAS officer alleged that he had sent her inappropriate messages though no complaint was filed. Captain Amarinder Singh communicated to the media that the minister had apologised and the matter has been resolved.
But sexual harassment complaint case resurfaced again in May this year after Punjab Women Commission sought a reply from the State government over the allegations.
National Commission for Women has sought newly appointed CM Charanjit Singh Channi’s resignation citing the appointment as shameful and called him a threat to women safety in Punjab.
This is shameful and highly objectionable that such a person has been appointed as the CM of Punjab. We do not want another woman to go through the same experience and endure the same harassment that the IAS officer would have faced. Channi needs to be held accountable and should resign from the post of CM,” said Rekha Sharma.
She added, “One can only imagine what would be the state of women safety in the state given the one at the helm of affairs is himself accused of threatening women security. If an IAS officer has been denied justice in the state, how can the Congress ensure that the common women of Punjab would be safe? Despite being a woman herself, the Congress chief did not consider the MeToo allegations made against Channi and appointed him the CM.”
Punjab’s CM Not New To Controversies
Again in 2018, he was caught on camera while flipping a coin to decide between the two lecturers to be appointed in a polytechnic institute as there was only one vacancy.
Strong Believer in Astrology
Rode an elephant at his residence in Kharar for good luck.
As told by his astrologer, he dug up the park at his official residence to avoid the entry of the house from West and to create a new entry from East which was later razed by the Chandigarh administration.
Patchwork CM: Channi’s Appointment A Political Stunt
Charanjit Singh was also known for his hilarious ‘patchwork’ reply. In 2016, when Sukhbir Singh Badal challenged Charanjit Singh to list one achievement of the 2002-07 Congress regime, he replied, “Patchwork on all the roads of Punjab”.
Many believe the appointment to be a political stunt and also consider Channi as a temporary patchwork by Congress to smoothen out the roads for Navjot Singh Sindhu. The speculations started getting some basis after Congress leader Harish Rawat made a statement that 2022 State Assembly elections will be fought under Navjot Singh Sidhu.
On the swearing-in day of Sh @Charnjit_channi as Chief Minister, Mr Rawats’s statement that “elections will be fought under Sidhu”, is baffling. It’s likely to undermine CM’s authority but also negate the very ‘raison d’être’ of his selection for this position.
— Sunil Jakhar (@sunilkjakhar) September 20, 2021
Punjab Congress veteran Sunil Jakhar tweeted that the statement is likely to undermine CM’s authority but also negate the very ‘raison d’être’ of his selection for this position.
The appointment is believed to be a political stunt to win dalit vote bank just five months before the 2022 assembly polls as Dalits form 32 percent of the Punjab’s electorate.