Harish Rawat, the Punjab Congress in-charge, on Sunday, 19 September, said the state’s new Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi will have two deputy chief ministers, ANI reported.
“There will be two Deputy Chief Ministers in the Punjab government. There is a Sikh community in the state, so now one Deputy Chief Minister will be from Jat Sikh community, and the other will be from the Hindu community,” he said.
On Sunday, Channi’s appointment was announced by Rawat on Twitter. His swearing-in ceremony is scheduled to take place on Monday at 11 am.
Brahm Mohindra and Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa Likely to be the Two Deputy Chief Ministers
According to sources, Dera Baba Nanak MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa’s name is being considered from the Jat Sikh community. According to The Indian Express, Randhawa may be allotted an important department.
However, the Hindu community probables include three leaders - Brahm Singh Mohindra (MLA from Patiala rural), Vijay Inder Singla (MLA from Sangrur) and Bharat Bhushan Ashu (Punjab Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs Minister), reported ANI.
If both names are decided on Monday itself, then they will take oath along with Channi.
Rawat had said there was a mutual feeling in the party that there should be two deputy chief ministers in Punjab, reported ANI.
“Our mutual feeling is that there should be two deputy CMs. Soon we will take a call on it along with names for the Council of Ministers. Some names have been discussed, but it’s the CM’s prerogative who will discuss it with party high command and takes a call,” Rawat was quoted as saying.
While Rawat said the names are yet to be decided, party leader Pawan Kumar Bansal said Randhawa and Mohindra will be the two deputies, reported ANI.
“Heartiest congratulations to Charanjit Singh Channi for elevation as PunjabCM and Brahm Mohindra and Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa as Dy CMs. Best wishes for their grand success in the service of Punjab under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi,” he tweeted on Sunday.
Jakhar Refuses Deputy CM Post
Meanwhile, The Indian Express reported that Sunil Kumar Jakhar, the former state Congress chief who was in the reckoning for the CM’s post, refused to be appointed deputy CM on Sunday.
Two Congress workers had called up Jakhar even before the party had announced Channi’s name as the new CM of Punjab and offered him the post of deputy CM. Jakhar refused the post both times, saying he was not ‘hankering for any post’, reported the daily. However, he also said he would never quit the Congress party.
Early on Monday morning, Jakhar also took to social media and termed Rawat’s comments that the state elections will be fought under Punjab Congress Chief Navjot Singh Sidhu as baffling.
“On the swearing-in day of Shri Charanjit Channi as Chief Minister, Mr Rawats’s statement that “elections will be fought under Sidhu”, is baffling. It’s likely to undermine CM’s authority but also negate the very ‘raison d’être’ of his selection for this position,” he tweeted.
On Sunday, Rawat had said, “It (Congress face for upcoming state assembly polls) will be decided by the Congress president, but given the circumstances, elections will be fought with the Chief Minister’s cabinet under Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, whose chief is Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is very popular,” ANI quoted him as saying.
He had also said that Congress had taken a unanimous decision to make Channi the next CM of Punjab, adding that the party will try to ensure that former CM Amarinder Singh is at the oath-taking ceremony, “but it’s up to him.”
(With inputs from The Indian Express and ANI)
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