NEW DELHI: Congress leaders on Sunday hailed the election of Charanjit Singh Channi to be the first Dalit chief minister of Punjab and hoped the decision will fortify social justice and open new doors of empowerment for the community and other disadvantaged sections.
After Channi was elected the Congress Legislature Party leader, Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Congratulations to Shri Charanjit Singh Channi Ji for the new responsibility. We must continue to fulfill the promises made to the people of Punjab. Their trust is of paramount importance.”
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “The Congress creates a new history by appointing Punjab’s first Dalit CM in Sardar Charanjit Channi.”
“Let times record that this decision will singularly fortify social justice and open new doors of empowerment for our Dalit, Backward and disadvantaged brothers and sisters across India,” he said on Twitter.
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu tweeted, “Historic !! Punjab’s first Dalit CM-Designate – Will be written with Golden letters in History. A tribute to the spirit of the Constitution and the Congress.”
Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh also gave his best wishes to Channi and said, “I hope he’s able to keep the border state of Punjab safe and protect our people from the growing security threat from across the border.”
Congress chief whip in Lok Sabha Manickam Tagore congratulated Channi.
“May you continue to serve the people of Punjab with dedication and integrity and champion the ideologies of the Congress. New Chapter begins. He will be the only Dalit CM of the country after taking oath. There are BJP government in 12 states, not a single Dalit CM has been made,” he said on Twitter.
He thanked Congress President Sonia Gandhiji and his leader Rahul Gandhi for giving the voice to the last row.
The Congress SC department hailed Channi’s appointment and said Punjab — the state with the highest Dalit population — will see its first Dalit chief minister.
Channi, 49, becomes chief minister with less than six month to go before the assembly polls in Punjab.
He will take oath Monday morning.
An estimated 30 per cent of the state’s population, counting both Sikhs and Hindus, is from that community.
The opposition BJP had earlier announced that if voted to power in Punjab, it will make a Dalit the chief minister, while the Shiromani Akali Dal — which is fighting the polls in alliance with the BSP — had said that its deputy CM would be from that community.