A hug to a police band member, Bhangra dance with students, tea in a bowl at a roadside stall and tales of his struggle from humble origin to the Chief Minister’s post.
The new Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi is being seen doing everything his immediate predecessor Captain Amarinder Singh was not in a bid to strike a chord with Punjabis who are seeing a scheduled caste CM for the first time in the state’s history.
In an apparent bid to prove himself different from his predecessor Amarinder and his Patiala Royal brand of politics, ‘commoner’ Channi is presenting himself in public appearances ‘unlike’ a CM.
While at a first Press conference as the CM on Monday, a teared up Channi, 58, had recounted his poor background and how his family lived in a mud house, the CM on Thursday said his phone is never switched off even during night for anyone can call him due to some emergency. Captain Amarinder’s detractors claim the former CM remained inaccessible even for legislators.
While it’s common for higher-ups in Punjab to move with heavy security and cavalcades of official cars, Channi on Thursday said he is curtailing his security cover in a bid to end VIP culture in the state.
“I am one of you and I don’t need an army of 1000 security personnel to protect me from my own brethren”, he said at Kapurthala.
The CM said he was peeved to learn Rs Two Crore was spent from tax payer’s money to purchase a car, for head of state, as big as a room. Channi said he is votary of simple living and high thinking, so this VIP culture has to go at all cost.
“I am not fond of luxurious lifestyle,” he said. Channi said he is there to serve the Punjabis and has also asked the officers to ensure reduction in vehicles constituting his cavalcade.
Earlier in Amritsar, Channi had engaged in casual talk with his colleagues while sitting on a stool and sipping tea after pouring it in a small bowl at a roadside stall.
He even recited a poetry, “Chalte firte hue mehtab dikhaenge tumhen, humse milna kabhi, ye Punjab dikhaenge tumhen. Chand har chhat pe hai, suraj hai har aangan me, neend se jaago, naye khwab dikhaenge tumhen (Come, I will show you moonlight walking around, will show you the real Punjab. Here, there is moon at every terrace and sun in every patio; wake up, will show you new dreams),”.
He was also seen engaging in morning banter with those present in the area and clicked selfies too.
The CM’s picture of hugging a man from a police band, apparently after guard of honour, had also gone viral. He was also seen hugging Bhangra dancers yesterday after shaking a led with them on the stage.