New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: As Punjab is all set to get its new chief minister today with the oath-taking ceremony of CM-designate Charanjit Singh Channi scheduled at 11 am, senior Congress leader and Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat on Sunday evening announced that the Congress will contest the Punjab Assembly Elections next year under the leadership of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.

"It (Congress face for upcoming state assembly polls) will be decided by the Congress president, but given the circumstances, elections will be fought with the Chief Minister's cabinet under Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, whose chief is Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is very popular," Rawat, as quoted by ANI said.

However, his announcement just ahead of Charanjit Singh Channi's swearing-in doesn't go down well with former PPCC president Sunil Jakhar, who claimed that the announcement of the day of the swearing-in ceremony is baffling and is likely to undermine the authority of the chief minister.

“On the swearing-in day of Sh @Charnjit_channi as Chief Minister, Mr Rawats’s statement that “elections will be fought under Sidhu”, is baffling. It’s likely to undermine CM’s authority but also negate the very ‘raison d’être’ of his selection for this position," Sunil Jakhar wrote on Twitter.

According to media reports, as Congress decided to appoint two deputy chief ministers in the state, Sunil Jakhar, who was in the reckoning for chief minister’s post, on Sunday refused to take post of one of the deputies to Charanjit Singh Channi.

Reports suggest that Congress central observer had dialled Jakhar before the announcement of the CM's name and offered him the post of the deputy. However, he refused the post and said that he was a dyed-in-wool Congress worker and was not behind any post. He also said that he will never quit Congress and will also not accept the post of a Deputy CM.

Channi, 49, is slated to take oath as Punjab's 16th Chief Minister today, a few months before the 2022 assembly polls in the state. The swearing-in ceremony will be held in Chandigarh at 11 am. Channi was unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab and is set to take over as next Chief Minister following Captain Amarinder Singh's resignation.

Amarinder Singh on Saturday submitted his resignation to state Governor Banwarilal Purohit, following months of infighting between him and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. Channi, a three-time MLA from Rupnagar's Chamkaur Sahib - will be Punjab's first Dalit Chief Minister.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan