Updated: December 11, 2021 7:42:57 pm
From slashing power rates to what he claims “are the cheapest in the country” and regularising contractual employees, to rationalising sand mining rates and capping cable charges,Channi has positioned himself as the “real common man”, who has a solution to all their problems (“Channi kare hal masle”). Watch Adda with Punjab CM now.
With the Assembly polls expected to be announced shortly, Channi is the chief guest at the Express e-Adda.
The first Dalit CM of the state with the highest proportion of Scheduled Caste population in the country, the choice of Channi was seen as a masterstroke by the Congress beleaguered by infighting, but set to be a shortgap arrangement. However, he has hit the ground running, belying even the best hopes of the Congress, demanding that he be seen as more than a Dalit face with his string of educational degrees and, given his long climb to the top, his accessibility and energy, offering a change from the well-entrenched and entitled political leaderships of Punjab’s two main political parties (Amarinder in the Congress, and the Badals of the Akali Dal).
In much-circulated pictures, Channi has been seen mingling with the public routinely, once rescuing a buffalo, at another time taking some village children for a chopper ride, breaking bread with an auto driver, playing hockey, and doing bhangra.
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, who made Amarinder’s continuance in the party untenable, continues to regularly make noises against Channi’s leadership. Sidhu has used emotional issues like the non-progress in the sacrilege and drug cases to target the Channi government, as he had done Amarinder’s. He has also forced the Channi government to bend to his other demands, for a change in the DGP and Advocate General.
However, slowly but surely, Channi has pulled away in the race for Punjab Congress leadership, including against Sidhu.
The attacks by AAP, the main Opposition party in the state after the last Assembly elections, on Channi also show which way the wind is blowing.
At the e-Adda, Channi is in conversation with The Indian Express’s political editor, Ravish Tiwari, and Editor, Chandigarh, Manraj Grewal Sharma.
The Express Adda is a series of informal interactions by The Indian Express group with those at the centre of change. Among those who have featured in the Adda since it moved online during the pandemic are Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and MSMEs Nitin Gadkari and AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria
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