LUDHIANA: Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Sunday announced Charanjit Singh Channi as the party’s chief ministerial for Punjab ahead of the 2022 assembly elections.
Addressing a virtual rally in Ludhiana named ‘Aawaz Punjab Di’, Rahul Gandhi said, “A leader cannot be made in 10 to 15 days but it take years of hard work, fights, struggles and sacrifices.”
“And Congress has many leaders, who are diamonds as they have done hard work in last several years. Take the name of Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, Channi or Sunil Jakhar, all have walked on difficult paths and learnt,” he added.
Before announcing the name of Channi, the Congress leader said, “It was too difficult to pick a diamond among so many diamonds. And Sidhu was right that to select the candidate of Punjab one has to listen people of Punjab.
He said, “It is not my decision. The people of Punjab have decided. I can have an opinion but I cannot decide. The people of Punjab said we want a ‘gareeb ghar ka CM’ and I agree with it. And they have named Channi as the CM,” he said.
He also sstated that he had met Sidhu first time 40 years ago, when he was 10 year old and studying in Doon Public School, where the cricketer had come to play a match.
“He does not know that I had met him that day, but that was my first meeting with him,” Rahul Gandhi said, adding that in the match Sidhu took six wickets and also scored 98 and defeated Doon school team in the match.
After Channi’s name was announced, Rahul Gandhi hugged Channi, Sidhu and Jakhar on stage.
Meanwhile, he also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said, “He is like a king. He never helps anyone on streets. While Channi, who comes from poor background is always ready to help and listen to people.”
Targeting BJP and AAP, which are also contesting in Punjab assembly polls, Gandhi scion alleged that in BJP and AAP, people opinion is not heard.
“Either Modiji or Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, only they have their say in their parties, while in Congress everyone is free to speak and express. We listen to everyone which is also criticism,” he said.
The Wayanad MP in his previous visit to Punjab had promised to announce party’s chief ministerial candidate through survey.
The ruling Congress is facing a stiff challenge from the Siromani Akali Dal and AAP in the state. Even BJP is contesting in alliance with Captain Amarinder Singh newly formed Punjab Lok Congress in the state.
Polling for 117-member assembly is scheduled on February 20 and counting of votes will take place on March 10.