JUST two weeks ahead of Assembly polls in the Congress-ruled Punjab, party leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday announced incumbent Charanjit Singh Channi as the party’s chief ministerial face for the polls. State party chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was in the race, hugged Channi on the stage as Gandhi announced his name after over 45 minutes of his speech, televised across the 117 Assembly seats. Political observers believe the decision of the Congress to go to the polls in the State, which is witnessing a five-cornered contest, under the leadership of Channi, the state’s first Dalit Chief Minister, is to woo the Dalit Sikh votes that are 32 per cent in the State. “It is Punjab’s decision. It is not my decision.
I didn’t decide. I asked workers, candidates, MLAs, people, youth of Punjab. What people said has led me to my final decision,” said Gandhi during his address at the ‘Aawaz Punjab Di’ virtual rally. He praised Channi for his humble background. Getting emotional on the announcement of his name, Channi said that he has always been honest, never took a penny from anyone, and will continue to work honestly. The Congress announcement of the CM’s face came after the AAP declared comedian-turned-politician Bhagwant Mann as its Chief Ministerial candidate.