Charanjit Singh Channi, Kharar tent boy to Punjab CM
Charanjit Singh Channi's elevation to the CM's chair is expected to cause an upheaval in Punjab politics.
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The new Chief Minister of Punjab, Charanjit Singh Channi has had a monumental rise in his political career. From being a tent boy in Kharar to a three-time MLA, and now the Chief Minister of Punjab, Channi has been a part of the state’s politics for a long time.
Channi is well known for being a self-educated leader. He is a law graduate from Panjab University, Chandigarh, and an MBA from Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar. He also acquired a master’s degree in political science while being the leader of opposition, and is currently pursuing a PhD.
Charanjit Singh Channi (R) with Navjot Singh Sidhu at the CM's swearing-in ceremony. Photo: PTI
ROOTS: The Channis, a lower middle-class family from the Makrona Kalan village in Chamkaur Sahib in Punjab, enjoy a reputation of being humble and soft-spoken. The family moved to Malaysia in search of work, but ultimately returned to Kharar. They founded a tent house where Charanjit began work as a boy who helped set up tents. Channi’s father, Harsa Singh, became the village sarpanch. Channi is believed to have followed him into politics. Charanjit Singh Channi's brother, Sukhwant Singh, also contested in the Kharar municipal council polls in February 2021 but lost by 12 votes. His other brother, Dr Manohar Singh, is a doctor with the Punjab government.
RISE: In 2007, when Congress denied Channi a ticket, he started his political career as an independent MLA. In 2012 and 2017 however, on a Congress ticket, he was re-elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha from the Chamkaur Sahib consistency.
Charanjit Singh Channi (L) and Capt. Amarinder Singh (C). Photo: Facebook
ROAD TO CM'S CHAIR: Charanjit Singh Channi was the leader of opposition in the Punjab Legislative Assembly in 2015-16. In 2017, he became the Cabinet minister for Technical Education and Industrial Training, Employment Generation and also Science and Technology in the Punjab government. He is also one of the four Cabinet ministers who led the protest that resulted in Captain Amarinder Singh’s resignation as CM. Channi has now created history as the first Dalit-Sikh CM of Punjab. (Deep Dive: How replacing Amarinder with a Dalit Sikh CM is a big gamble for the Congress)
THE O: The elevation of Channi, a Dalit Sikh, to the CM's chair is expected to cause an upheaval in Punjab politics. With the Assembly polls just months away, all eyes now are on the Congress's next move.