When in doubt, flip a coin. That might be the best way to take a decision in some cases, but is that the right thing to do when you are the education minister of a state taking a decision that would impact the lives of students?

Triggering a controversy, Punjab Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi was caught on camera flipping a coin purportedly to pick the right candidate from two for the post of a lecturer in a polytechnic institute at Patiala.

The incident happened on Monday, 12 February, but the video went viral the next day.

Candidates, 37 in total, selected through the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) were invited by the minister in the Congress government for allocation of posting according to their choice. The toss was done for the two who asked for the same place of posting.

As the video triggered a controversy, the minister, who is an MLA from Chamkaur Sahib assembly constituency of Rupnagar, defended himself saying that the candidates had themselves suggested the “toss” idea since they had “the same merit”.

“There was no wrongdoing, it was done purely based on merit,” NDTV quoted the minister as saying even as the BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) demanded his removal.

According to The Hindu, the minister also claimed that the toss was aimed at “bringing transparency in government working, which was lacking in the previous regime of SAD-BJP”.