Chief Minister and Congress leader Charanjit Singh Channi, the first Dalit who is at the helm in Punjab now, on Monday said his government is of Aam Aadmi (the common man), honest, free from sand mafias and a representative of the poor as he himself pulled a rickshaw in his childhood.
Also he appealed to the Centre to revoke the three farm laws and to the agitating state employees to join work as he would be going to redress their grievances shortly.
In his maiden media interaction after taking the oath of office here, Channi, 58, who got emotional many a time with voice choked with emotions, said the Congress has given an opportunity to a common man who started his career as a humble party worker.
“The Gandhis, Harish Rawat and Navjot Sidhu made an Aam Aadmi a CM (Chief Minister). I come from a family who had a house made of mud and straws. I am a representative of a poor man, be it a poor farmer or a labourer. I myself pulled a rickshaw. My father had a tent house business and I used to supply chairs (on a rickshaw),” the Chief Minister, who was flanked by Sidhu, Rawat and his Deputy Chief Ministers — Sukhjinder Randhawa and O.P. Soni, said.
Expressing solidarity with the farmers and with the poor, Channi said: “I won’t let any harm come to the farmers. We will make a decision on sand mafia today itself. No power connection of a poor man will be disconnected for pending bills.”
“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.”
“Those involved in mafia should not try to approach me. We are going to bring a policy to end sand mafia in the very first Cabinet meeting today.”
He said his government would soon announce the waiver of water bill and announcement on lowering electricity rates.
Praising his predecessor, Channi, who was sworn in as 16th chief minister of the state, said Captain Amarinder Singh did a lot of good work for the people of Punjab. “We will take forward his work and will complete the party’s 18-point agenda on fulfilling promises.”
Without mincing words, the three-time legislator Channi said the party is supreme. “The Chief Minister is not supreme. The Congress ideology will be followed. We will all be united.”
State party President Sidhu, who sitting beside the Chief Minister, was patting his hand time and again, extending support and showing affection.