Today, in the presence of Navjot Singh Sidhu and other leaders, Charanjit Singh Channi took oath as the 16th Chief Minister of Punjab at the Governor’s house in Chandigarh. He turned out to be the first Dalit leader to head the state.

Earlier today, Channi offered prayers at a Gurudwara in Rupnagar before his oath-taking ceremony. The 58-year-old leader was administered the oath of office and secrecy by governor Banwarilal Purohit in a simple ceremony. Channi, the three-time legislator from the Chamkaur Sahib assembly constituency in Rupnagar district, had joined the Congress in 2012. He held several portfolios in the outgoing Amarinder Singh-led cabinet including technical education.

Harish Rawat, the Congress in-charge of Punjab mentioned that the party will fight elections under Sidhu. With barely months to go for Assembly polls, Congress’ pick assumes significance as Dalits constitute around 30 percent of the state’s population.

Back on Sunday, Harish Rawat announced that Channi was elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) of Punjab. “It gives me immense pleasure to announce that Charanjit Singh Channi has been unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab,” tweeted Rawat. Amarinder Singh congratulated Channi on his appointment.

Meanwhile, Rawat informed that there will be two deputies to Channi. One of the Deputy Chief Minister will be from the Jat Sikh community, and the other from the Hindu community.

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