Hours after Chamkaur Sahib MLA Charanjit Singh Channi was given the chief ministerial post in Punjab, the Congress leader found himself in the midst of a controversy after 3-year-old #MeToo allegations surfaced against him.
While congratulations poured in from various leaders across Indian politics, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) raked up #MeToo allegations against Channi.
BJP's IT Cell Chief Amit Malviya took to Twitter to bring up the case of harassment against the leader and sneered, 'Well done, Rahul.'
The #MeToo Case
In November 2018, amid the upheaval catalysed by the #MeToo movement, an IAS officer had accused Channi of sending indecent text messages to her.
The matter was brought to a resolution after the former CM of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh intervened, and no formal complaint was filed for the alleged harassment.
As per Singh, who had admitted that the matter came to his knowledge later, had said that the minister had apologised to the woman officer.
In the past few months, Channi has been one of the most vocal critics of Captain Amarinder Singh.
Moreover, Captain's critics like Sukhjinder Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Bajwa, Sukhbinder Sarkaria and others accused the then CM of reviving an old case against Channi to harass him. Sidhu, too, has supported Channi.
Punjab Women Commission's Notice
Two years since the allegation and amid the escalating fighting within the Congress, the Punjab Women Commission (PWC) issued a notice to the Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh and sought a status report in the alleged harassment case in June this year.
The PWC chairperson, Manisha Gulati, even threatened to go on a hunger strike if there was no action against Channi.
"I had issued a notice to the government after taking suo motu cognisance of media reports about Channi sending an inappropriate text to an IAS officer... The case may have been closed in books but it has not been closed by the commission.”Manisha Gulati, as per The Indian Express
'A Witch Hunt': Channi's Aides Slam Amarinder
Channi, who was the Technical Education Minister then, was a prominent leader in the group of ministers demanding action against perpetrators in the sacrilege case and speaking up against Amarinder Singh.
In this political context, sources claimed that the government had dug out old cases against rebelling ministers. Some even called the move a part of a “witch hunt” by the Amarinder camp, Hindustan Times reported.
Ahead of the 2022 state elections, Channi took oath as the Chief Minister of Punjab on Monday, 20 September, after CM Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down from his post on Saturday, 18 September.
Addressing the media at the Raj Bhavan after tendering his resignation, Singh had said that he had conveyed to party president Sonia Gandhi that he felt humiliated.