The All India Congress Committee (AICC) finalised the name of three-time MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa as the new chief minister of Punjab, reported news agency ANI. MLA Pritam Kotbhai said that a formal announcement on Randhawa’s name will be made shortly by the party high-command.
Along with Randhawa, dormer Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar and the party’s current state unit president Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa were the frontrunners for the post of the CLP leader, who will be the new chief minister.
Names of senior party leaders Ambika Soni, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Brahm Mohindra, Vijay Inder Singla, Punjab Congress working president Kuljit Singh Nagra and MP Partap Singh Bajwa are also doing the rounds. However, Soni has rejected the CM post offer, saying that the next chief minister should be from the Sikh community.
Who is Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa?
The 62-year-old Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa is the Jails and Cooperation Minister in the outgoing cabinet of Captain Amarinder Singh. Hailing from Gurdaspur district in the Majha region, considered to be the wild west of Punjab, Randhawa is a three-time Congress MLA and has been elected in 2002, 2007 and 2017. He has been the Vice President of the state Congress and a general secretary and comes from a Congress family. His father, Santokh Singh, was twice state Congress president and a very well-known figure in the Majha region.
Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa has been very aggressive against the Badal family in general and Bikram Singh Majithia in particular during the present Congress government and has time and again made public statements that not enough was being done by the Congress government against the SAD leaders for various perceived transgressions. Randhawa had raised the issue of non-prosecution of the accused in the cases of 2015 sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in Punjab and the subsequent police firing in which two youths died. However, joining hands with Navjot Singh Sidhu, he has been in open revolt against Captain Amarinder Singh for the failure to fulfil the promises made in the run up to the 2017 polls regarding these incidents.