New Delhi [India], September 24 (ANI): Days after Charanjit Singh Channi took charge as Punjab Chief Minister, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Prakash on Thursday said that Congress is indulging in 'caste politics'.
The change of guard in Punjab came ahead of Assembly polls in the state which is slated to be held next year.
Congress claimed the appointment of Charanjit Singh Channi as a political masterstroke, but the bold move got entangled in a fresh political twist.
In the initial days, after Amarinder Singh stepped down from the topmost position in the state, there was speculation that Sunil Kumar Jakhar would be the next Punjab Chief Minister. However, Channi, a three-time MLA from Rupnagar's Chamkaur Sahib, became Punjab's first Dalit Chief Minister.
"Jakhar's name first came up and the Congress leaders were in his favour. However, he was not given the position because he is a Hindu. This is unfortunate. Punjab is not a state where people talk about caste. I do welcome that Channi has become the Chief Minister, who is a face of the Scheduled Castes. But the way the Congress party is behaving. Harish Rawat ji, who is party's in-charge, said that they will fight the next election under the supervision of Sidhu sahib. It is very unfortunate and an insult to Channi sahib," said the Union Minister in an interview with ANI.
He alleged, "Punjab Congress is doing caste politics."
Prakash further alleged that Sukhjinder Randhawa, who was also in the list of probable Chief Ministers, was dropped over 'caste politics'.
"They constantly kept on changing names. Even two names of deputy chief ministers were announced," said the Minister.
Charanjit Singh Channi became the 16th Chief Minister of the state after Amarinder Singh resigned following months of infighting between him and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. He submitted his resignation to state Governor Banwarilal Purohit. Singh, after his resignation, said that he felt "humiliated" adding that he had been summoned thrice by the central leadership in the past two months.
Speaking on Amarinder Singh's 'humiliation' remark, Prakash said, "He has been humiliated. There is no doubt about it. He has served so long as the Chief Minister. Singh should have been removed in a better manner. The issues that were raised by him are genuine."
The Minister also said that Congress being a political party should have eyes on the political developments that will unfold afterwards removing Amarinder Singh. " Only Captain sahib will be able to tell about what he wants to do now," Prakash answered on speculation over Amarinder Singh joining Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"BJP is the largest party across the world. It has the maximum number of members. The situation in Punjab is fast changing. We will fight the upcoming Assembly polls in the state in full spirit," Prakash said. (ANI)