Punjab Assembly election Punjab

Punjab Assembly election | No anti-incumbency against Congress, says Charanjit Singh Channi

Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi (right) with PPCC president Navjot Singh Sidhu and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at Golden Temple in Amritsar, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022.
Vikas VasudevaJanuary 29, 2022 12:35 IST
Updated: January 30, 2022 00:20 IST

Punjab Chief Minister is confident Congress will register a landslide victory.

Ahead of the Punjab Assembly election, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has said that the Congress is not facing anti-incumbency in the State. The party will register a landslide victory, Mr. Channi said in an interview with The Hindu . The party, he said, has decided to announce a chief ministerial candidate because the people wanted it.

Taking credit for action against Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia, the Chief Minister said he had launched “Mission Clean” against the sand, drug, and liquor mafia.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

He said the Opposition was levelling allegations as they “don’t have anything to use against me”.

Excerpts:

Why has the Congress decided to announce a Chief Ministerial face for the Punjab election, which Mr. Rahul Gandhi claimed was not usual?

It is because the people of Punjab are demanding the Chief Ministerial face this time in the run-up to the Assembly election, and our party leadership accepted the demand of Punjabis.

Also read: Analysis | Appointment of Charanjit Singh Channi as CM brings SCs back into focus in political arena

The Congress had promised the eradication of the drug menace, justice in the 2015 sacrilege, employment and complete farm loan waiver, among others. These promises remain unfulfilled. Why should the people vote for the Congress again?

After becoming the Chief Minister, I constituted a new Special Investigation Team to probe sacrilege cases and launched ‘Mission Clean’ to curb the sand, drug and liquor mafia , and action was taken against powerful people, including senior Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia , who was sheltered by Capt. Amarinder Singh when he was Chief Minister for four-and-a-half years in Punjab. My government waived off debt up to ₹2 lakh for farmers who have land up to five acres. A new law will be introduced to provide reservation for local youth in government and private jobs.

Do you think anti-incumbency against the Congress will damage the party’s electoral prospects?

There is no anti-incumbency against the Congress in Punjab. People have liked my four months of work. I am approachable to people and have doled out funds for their welfare, which were earlier missing as former Chief Ministers were focussed on filling their own coffers. I am confident that Congress will register a landslide victory.

The Congress’s former State president Sunil Jakhar had demanded that the party should disown the statement that only “a Sikh must be Chief Minister of Punjab” as it has damaged the party. How do you react?

It is his personal opinion and everyone has the right to express himself freely. There is no harm in it. Announcing the Chief Ministerial face, whether it is a Hindu or Sikh face, is the prerogative of the high command. I, as a staunch worker of the Congress, will abide by the decision.

The Opposition parties have been accusing you of patronising the sand mining mafia. What do you have to say?

The Opposition doesn’t have anything to raise against me as I have done work in just four months which they couldn’t do in decades. They are frustrated and making scurrilous claims to malign my image. I dare them to present even a single piece of proof to show my involvement in sand mining across Punjab.

Read more...