Cong puts forth Channi as CM candidate on Twitter; Team Sidhu not worried  

Cong puts forth Channi as CM candidate on Twitter; Team Sidhu 'not worried'  

A video posted by the Congress on its official Twitter page has fueled speculations about the party projecting Charanjit Channi as the chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming assembly polls, in an apparent snub towards state party chief Navjot Singh Siddhu who has been vying for the post.

In the 36-minute video, actor-philanthropist Sonu is seen saying that the real chief minister should be one who is a backbencher goaded to come to the limelight by others, and not one who brags about his capability to become one.

“The real chief minister or king is one who is given the throne/seat. He needn’t struggle, he needn’t tell everyone that ‘I should be the chief ministerial candidate, I deserve the post.’ The candidate should be a backbencher who is picked from the back rows and told that ‘you deserve it’. Someone who is like this, can change the country,” Sood says.

The scene cuts to a montage of slow-motion videos of Channi paired with energetic background music.

The video is being translated as a direct snub to Sidhu, who has been at loggerheads with Channi even since the latter was made the chief minister, and has been pressuring the party high command to project him as the chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming polls instead. Even though both Channi and Sidhu have expressed the need for the party to enter the polls with a chief ministerial face, the party high command has been keeping mum on the decision.

Also read: Punjab state elections postponed to February 20

It is clear that the underdog or “backbencher” referred to the video is none other than Channi, whose Dalit credentials elevated him to the chief minister’s seat in September last year when predecessor Amarinder Singh resigned from the top post.

A member of the Scheduled Caste community, which is a whopping 32 per cent of Punjab’s population, Channi became the first-ever Dalit chief minister of the state. A three-time MLA from the Chamkaur Sahib Assembly seat, he has also served as the leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly in 2015 and 2016.

The video posted by the official Twitter handle of Congress, was also retweeted by the Punjab wing of the party.

Interestingly, it landed on Twitter hours after Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal declared that the party would announce its chief ministerial candidate in Mohali on Tuesday. The Congress hasn’t officially declared a chief ministerial candidate yet.

Those close to Sidhu, however, have called the video a handiwork of the “promo team” and the social media team of the Congress, advising the media not to read too much into it.

Also read: Punjab Cong candidates’ list out: Sidhu to fight from Amritsar East; Channi from Chamkaur Sahib

The Election Commission has moved the date for the conduct of the polls in the state from February 14 to February 20 following request by political parties.

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