Charanjit Singh Channi’s journey as first Dalit CM of Punjab

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With barely five months left for the assembly polls, the announcement of a Dalit face as chief minister by the Congress assumes significance as Dalits constitute nearly 32 percent of the state’s population. The Doaba region — Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, SBS Nagar and Kapurthala districts — has the highest population of Dalits.The Shiromani Akali Dal, which has joined hands with the BSP, has already announced that the deputy chief minister post will be given to a Dalit if it wins the assemby polls, while the Aam Admi Party too is sensing a victory as its rivals remain in disarray.Though Channi appears to be a surprise choice, it can be a calculated move by the party which is hoping that there might not be public opposition from leaders in the faction-ridden party to the naming of a Dalit for the post.Channi along with three other ministers – Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria – and a section of MLAs had last month raised a banner of revolt against Amarinder Singh, saying they have no faith in his ability to honour the unfulfilled promises.

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