The Congress party has made Charanjit Singh Channi the new chief minister of Punjab. Channi was serving as the Technical Education Minister in Capt Amarinder Singh’s cabinet. “It gives me immense pleasure to announce that Sh Charanjit Singh Channi has been unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab,” said Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Rawat. Channi’s appointment came after two days of high-drama that unfolded in Punjab following which Amarinder Singh had resigned as CM yesterday. Channi is a surprise pick as the names of Ambika Soni, Sunil Jakhar, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu were doing rounds for the state’s top post.
Who is Charanjit Singh Channi?
Channi is a member of the Dalit community – the Ramdasia Sikh community. He is a three-time MLA from the Chamkaur Sahib Assembly Constituency of Punjab. He won assembly elections in 2007, 2012 and 2017. Notably, Channi had also served as the leader of opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha from 2015 to 2016.
Charanjit Singh Channi was born on April 2, 1972 in a poor family in Makrona Kalan village near Chamkaur Sahib. He had done his primary schooling at a government school in the locality. His father’s name is S. Harsa Singh and his mother’s name is Ajmer Kaur.
Describing the struggles that Channi’s family underwent, the Punjab government’s website says, “His father had to struggle a lot to bring his family to the level of economic security for which he had to migrate to Malaysia. He worked hard and ultimately success embraced him and his family. He returned and settled in Kharar town starting a business of a Tent House where Channi also played as a Tent boy. His father was a very generous man even in his business dealings.”
Charanjit Singh Channi completed his matriculation from Khalsa Higher Secondary School in Kharar after his family moved and settled in the area. Notably, Channi was a great handball player and has many awards under his belt. He has also 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.
Channi had joined Sri Guru Gobind Singh College at Chandigarh for his higher education. After graduating from there, he joined Punjab University Chandigarh and got a law degree. He later pursued a Master’s in Business Administration from PTU Jalandhar and currently finishing his PhD from the Panjab University Chandigarh.
Channi received his political grooming at home since his father Harsa Singh was Sarpanch of the Gram Panchayat of his village and later on a member of Block Samiti. Channi was involved in political activities since his school days and was also elected President of the School Student Union.
He made his official political debut with municipal elections and was made Municipal Councilor for three terms and later became the President of Municipal Council Kharar for two terms. He then went on to become an MLA in 2007 for the first time.