Punjab Assembly election | Congress evades a direct response on chief ministerial face in Punjab

It put out a video on Twitter on Monday dropping a clear hint that Channi will be the pick

Updated - January 18, 2022 07:37 pm IST

Published - January 18, 2022 11:47 am IST - New Delhi:

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi during a rally in Patiala recently.

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi during a rally in Patiala recently.

A day after the official Twitter handle of the Congress dropped a clear hint that Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi would be party’s chief ministerial face in the upcoming Assembly elections, the party on Tuesday evaded a direct response on the issue.

At a press conference on the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raids in multiple locations in Punjab including a relative of Mr. Channi, AICC in-charge for the State Harish Chaudhary referred to Mr. Channi as the “most popular leader in Punjab” but skirted the CM question.

“The issue of chief ministerial candidate or who will form the government are all gone. The biggest question today is: can Punjab be suppressed. History is witness that none has ever been able to suppress Punjab,” Mr. Chaudhary said.

On Monday, amid a tussle on the issue, the Twitter handle had released a 36-second video that featured only Mr. Channi, who appeared a dozen times.

Putting out the video and the subsequent ambivalence is typical of the Congress’ playbook to keep the suspense on the issue, a source said.

Leaders close to Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Navjot Singh Sidhu told The Hindu that the party social media team regularly put out videos of both the PCC chief and the Chief Minister.

Also read: Congress using Channi as a ‘night watchman’, says AAP

In the video, actor Sonu Sood, whose sister Malavika is the party’s candidate from the Moga constituency, discusses what qualities a Chief Minister should possess.

“A real ruler or a Chief Minister is one who doesn’t have to say he is deserving but is given the chair by literally forcing him to accept it and by bringing him from the backbenches. Only such a person can change the country,” said the actor in the video that showed Mr. Channi attending public events, eating sitting on the floor among other scenes.

The video, also retweeted by the Punjab Congress handle, came just days after Mr. Channi, in an interview to a local TV channel, had said the party has done well whenever it has projected a CM face before the polls.

The issue has been the bone of contention between Mr. Sidhu and Mr. Channi.

Though the video was a clear message to the Sidhu camp, officially the party high command continues to talk about fighting the polls under the collective leadership of Mr. Channi, Mr. Sidhu and campaign committee chief Sunil Jakhar.

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