Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Channi will contest from two seats in the state assembly elections – Bhadaur and Chamkaur Sahib. Congress on Sunday announced the CM’s candidature from the Bhadaur seat as it released its third list of eight candidates.
Chamkaur Sahib is Channi’s home turf that he has been representing for over a decade, while Bhadaur falls in Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency. AAP’s CM face Bhagwat Mann is contesting the elections from Dhuri, which is a part of the Sangrur district. Bhadaur, a reserved seat, is an AAP stronghold and an unknown terrain for the Congress, which secured only 20% of the votes in the last assembly elections in 2017.
Channi took over as the Punjab CM last September after his predecessor Captain Amarinder Singh resigned citing humiliation and after a bitter power tussle with Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu. Both Sidhu and Channi are eyeing the top job in the state.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had recently announced that the party would announce a CM candidate and that party workers will make that decision.
Gandhi, earlier this week while addressing a gathering in Jaladhar, had said that the party would consult with Congress workers to decide on the chief ministerial candidate. He had further said that while he was on his way to the venue, both Sidhu and Channi had expressed their opinion that the CM face should be announced and that both of them will support the party’s decision. “Two people can’t lead, only one can. They told me that they would agree to whatever decision the party takes on who will be the CM face. If one leads, the other has promised to extend all the support. Both have the Congress’ thoughts in their heart,” he had said.
At the same gathering, both Channi and Sidhu threw subtle hints of staking claim to the top post. While Sidhu said that he should not just be made an “exhibitory horse”, Channi said that “if people have liked my work in the last three months, then they should get a chance to see what I can do for the next five years”.
The Congress also fielded former Patiala mayor Vishnu Sharma from the Patiala assembly seats against its former leader Amarinder Singh. Sharma was once considered a close confidant of the former chief minister. Former union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s son Manish Bansal has been fielded from the Barnala assembly constituency.
With inputs from News18, PTI