‘Withdraw farm laws,’ Charanjit Singh Channi tells Centre after taking oath as Punjab CM

Charanjit Singh Channi was on Monday sworn in as chief minister of Punjab, making him the first Dalit to hold the top post in the state. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and OP Soni were also sworn in.

In his first address as the Punjab Chief Minister, Charanjit Singh Channi urged the Centre to withdraw the three farm laws. “We have to strengthen Punjab. It is the state of farmers. I appeal to the Centre to withdraw the farm laws. I will sever my head but I won’t let any harm come to the farmers,” he said.

Farmers in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have been protesting against three contentious farm laws. Several rounds of meetings between the Centre and farmer leaders have ended in a deadlock.

Expressing his gratitude to Congress, Channi got emotional as he thanked the party leadership for choosing “an aam aadmi (common man)” for the top post. Channi said he will become the voice of the common people of Punjab and will always remain accessible to the people. “Party is supreme. CM is not supreme. Congress ideology will be followed. We will all be united. Nobody will be able to separate us on the lines of caste and religion,” he said.

Claiming he would end corruption in government offices, Channi said “either corrupt officers would stay or he would stay”.

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On his predecessor, Amarinder Singh, Channi said he did good work as CM. “He is also known as the protector of water rights. He is our party leader,” he said. The party high command has given an 18-point programme and we are committed to it, said Channi, adding promises made will be fulfilled. “We will ensure a transparent government,” he added.

“I am a representative of the common man, the farmer and anyone who is oppressed. I am not a representative of the rich. Those who are into sand-mining and other illegal activities, don’t come to me. I am not your representative,” Channi added.

Charanjit Singh Channi was on Monday sworn in as chief minister of Punjab, making him the first Dalit to hold the top post in the state. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and OP Soni were also sworn in as deputy chief ministers. Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered oath to the 58-year-old Channi at a ceremony held at the Raj Bhawan.

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