Charanjit Singh Channi is Congress CM candidate: Rahul Gandhi

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People of Punjab said that they want a Chief Minister from a poor family. The one who understands poverty and the pain of the poor because Punjab needs such a person.

AMRITSAR: Putting a rest to all speculations surrounding the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate for the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections, Congress leader and former party president Rahul Gandhi announced the name of Charanjit Singh Channi as Congress’s Chief Minister face.

“It’s a decision of Punjab. It’s not Rahul Gandhi’s decision. When you asked me to decide on CM face, I asked the people of Punjab, I asked party candidates, workers, the youth, and the working committee members. And the reply they all gave me that decision I am sharing today. My work is to listen and understand your voice, I may be having an opinion but the opinion of Punjab is more important than my opinion. People of Punjab said that they want a Chief Minister from a poor family. The one who understands poverty and the pain of the poor because Punjab needs such a person. I also have a similar opinion. It was a difficult decision (to choose) the Chief Ministerial candidate, but you (people) made it easy. The Congress Chief Ministerial candidate will be Charanjit Singh Channi,”

He was addressing a virtual rally in Punjab’s Ludhiana in the run-up to the Assembly polls.

Asserting that Congress was different from other political parties, Gandhi said “Congress party is a system of developing and nurturing leaders; it gradually makes a leader.. I give you, my example.. In the last 5- 7 years I was able to learn that I couldn’t have learned without the Congress party and without the worker of the Congress party.

“The people who think politics is an easy thing let me tell you that they are mistaken, making a leader is not an easy job, numerous people surrender. You know about Mr. Channi, he is a son from a poor family, he deeply understands poverty, in his blood and heart it’s all Punjab. Even Navjot Singh Sidhu carries Punjab in his heart. Mr. Channi became the Chief Minister of Punjab; you must have noted that even though it’s the top post but did you (people) see any arrogance in him? No, not at all. He goes in the public and meets them with humbleness.”

Hitting out at BJP, Mr. Gandhi said, “There are other Chief Ministers as well and there’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Yogi ji is Chief Minister, does he go among the people?. Have you seen Modi ji going to among people? Have you ever seen Modi ji helping anyone on the road? no. They will never do it because he is not Prime Minister, he is a ‘king’. But Mr. Channi is a Chief Minister from a poor family and is the voice of the poor. And he (Mr. Channi) has not come to become a Chief Minister, but he is here to bring a change to Punjab. I am not talking just about Mr. Channi, all our team including Mr. Sidhu, Mr. Jakhar are here to change Punjab.

Mr. Gandhi said in Punjab the most important thing Congress wants is to work in partnership with its people. “We want to do partnership with people of Punjab. We want people to tell us what should we do for them. Our doors are always open. That’s the difference between Congress and other parties.

Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu questioned the move saying her husband and PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu was apt for the post, adding party leader Rahul Gandhi has been “misguided”.

Questioning Gandhi’s claim that Channi was poor and understood poverty, Dr Navjot said, “He (Channi) is very rich. His I-T returns submitted during filing of papers suggests his income is higher than ours,” she claimed, adding as her husband’s income had been affected, she would have to return to her profession to earn a livelihood. “Had Sidhu not given up his career, we would have made Rs 250 crore.”

“Instead of ‘rich’ or ‘poor’, merit, education, honesty, loyalty, intelligence, capacity to work and vision for development should have been the main criteria,” she added.

Canvassing for Sidhu in Amritsar East, which she represented between 2012 and 2017, Navjot said her husband’s ‘Punjab model’ could steer the state out of the crisis within six months. “His model is good,” she said, adding Rahul had been “misled”.