Punjab CM Charanjit Channi demands repeal of farm laws, promises waiver of water bills

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Updated: September 20, 2021 2:36 PM

Channi, the first Dalit chief minister of the state, said he will become the voice of the common people of Punjab and will always remain accessible to the people.

Channi, the first Dalit chief minister of the state, said he will become the voice of the common people of Punjab and will always remain accessible to the people.

In his first address after taking oath as the chief minister of Punjab, Charanjit Singh Channi urged the Centre to withdraw the contentious three farm laws. “We have to strengthen Punjab. It is the state of farmers. I appeal to the Centre to withdraw the farm laws. I will sever my head but I won’t let any harm come to the farmers,” he said.

Farmers in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have been protesting against three contentious farm laws for over 10 months now, saying put on the borders of the national capital. Several rounds of meetings between the Centre and farmer leaders have ended in a deadlock.

Channi got emotional while expressing his gratitude for the Congress, saying that the party made a common man the chief minister of Punjab. He also described Rahul Gandhi as a “revolutionary leader”. He also announced that his government will waive off the water and electricity bills of the farmers in the state.

On his predecessor, Amarinder Singh, Channi said he did good work as CM. “He is also known as protector of water rights. He is our party leader,” he said. The party high command has given an 18-point programme and we are committed to it, said Channi, adding promises made will be fulfilled. “We will ensure a transparent government,” he said.

Channi, the first Dalit chief minister of the state, said he will become the voice of the common people of Punjab and will always remain accessible to the people.

Charanjit Singh Channi was on Monday sworn in as chief minister of Punjab, making him the first Dalit to hold the top post in the state. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and OP Soni were also sworn in as deputy chief ministers.

It is not certain that new CM will be able to accomplish the task in the time available to him, observers say. And Navjot Singh Sidhu, recently appointed as the party’s state unit president, could still be projected as the CM candidate as the elections near.

But Channi’s appointment will allow the party to play the Dalit card in the elections. An estimated 30 per cent of the state’s population, counting both Sikhs and Hindus, is from that community. Its biggest concentration is in the Doaba region.

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