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Charanjit Singh Channi: A brief look at the life of Punjab's new Chief Minister

Arfa Javaid

After the resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh along with his Council of Ministers, Charanjit Singh Channi was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Punjab at 11 a.m. today alongside Deputy Chief Ministers Sukhjinder Randhawa and Brahm Mohindra. 

Congress MLA Charanjit Singh Channi takes oath as Punjab CM at Raj Bhawan

— ANI (@ANI) September 20, 2021

The oath-taking ceremony is attended by Rahul Gandhi and a decision on the new cabinet will be taken later. 

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.

— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 19, 2021

The 58-year-old is a three-time MLA from Chamkaur Sahib assembly constituency and a minister in the outgoing Amarinder Singh cabinet. He joined the Indian National Congress in 2012 and has since then seen a meteoric rise over the last two decades. 

Here's a brief look at the life of Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.

Birth 1 March 1963 
Age 58 years
Wife Kamaljit Kaur
Children Navjit Singh, Rhythmjit Singh
Political Party Indian National Congress
Residence Kharar, SAS Nagar, Mohali, Punjab

Born on 1 March 1963 in Chamkaur Sahib, Punjab, Charanjit Singh Channi is fond of academics and holds three degrees-- one in business administration and the other two in political science and law. 

Channi's Political Stint

Channi's political stint began in 2002 when he was elected as the president of the Kharar municipal council. He won from Chamkaur Sahib Assembly Constituency on an independent ticket. 

He was elected from the same seat in 2012 and 2017 on a Congress ticket. He served as the leader of opposition in the Punjab Legislative Assembly from 2015 to 2016. 

From 2017 to 2021, he served as the  Minister of Technical Education and Industrial Training in the Amarinder Singh cabinet. 

Controversies related to Channi

During his stint as a Minister in the Capt. Amarinder Singh Ministry, Channi allegedly sent an inappropriate text message to a female Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, Kavita Singh, in October 2018.

The Punjab Women Commission took suo moto cognisance of the matter and sought the government's stand. The then CM Amarinder Singh confirmed that his minister had apologised and the matter had been resolved. However, in May 2021, the case resurfaced when the women panel chief threatened to go on a hunger strike if the state government failed to apprise her within a week of its stand on an “inappropriate text” message issue.

The same year, he courted another controversy when he flipped a coin to choose between two candidates to be a lecturer in a polytechnic institute in Patiala. He later opened up on the controversy and said that both candidates were equal and suggested the toss themselves.

A believer in astrology, Channi practices weird things such as east-facing entry to his house, riding of an elephant in his lawn, illegal construction of road outside his official residence which was razed by Chandigarh administration within hours.    

Charanjit Singh Channi's Family

Charanjit Singh Channi hails from a lower-middle-class family. His father Harsa Singh briefly worked in Malaysia and relocated his family to Kharar, where he started a tent house. His father became the village sarpanch and Channi followed his father's footprints to leave a mark in politics. 

His wife Kamaljit Kaur is a doctor by profession and the couple gave birth to two children-- Navjit Singh and Rhythmjit Singh. 

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