File image of Sukhjinder Randhawa (Twitter/@sukhjinderrandhawaofficial)
Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who was earlier speculated to be the replacement of outgoing Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, is likely to be appointed as one of the two deputy chief ministers of the state, reports said on September 19.
Sources close to NDTV suggested that the name of Randhawa, a key Congress face in Majha region, is expected to be finalised for the post of deputy CM.
A three-time MLA from Dera Baba Nanak constituency, the 62-year-old Randhawa was also the minister for jails and cooperation in the outgoing Amarinder Singh-led Cabinet.
The party, as per reports, is considering to appoint two deputy CMs -- the other is likely to be from the Hindu community.
Earlier in the day, Chiranjit Singh Channi, one of the party's top Dalit leaders in Punjab, was announced as the next chief minister.
Channi, who would be the first Sikh-Dalit CM of Punjab, is scheduled to take oath at 11 am on September 20.
The rejig in the state government comes around four months before the high-stake assembly polls in Punjab.
The intra-Congress crisis, which had been brewing over the past few months, took an explosive turn on September 17, when a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting was called, reportedly without consulting Amarinder Singh.
Singh resigned the following day, shortly before the CLP meeting was convened. "I have been humiliated," the 79-year-old said following his resignation, adding that he would decide on his future course of action after consulting his supporters.
Ahead of his exit, reports had claimed that Singh was able to garner the support of only 15 of the party's 80 MLAs in the state.
Later speaking to news agency ANI, Singh said he would "never accept" his rival and Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu as the chief minister. He cited Sidhu's relationship with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, and his alleged "incompetency" as a former cabinet minister, as the reasons behind opposing him.
After Channi was announced as his successor on September 19, Singh conveyed his wishes to him, but added that the new chief minister must keep the frontier state "safe".
"My best wishes to Charanjit Singh Channi. I hope he’s able to keep the border state of Punjab safe and protect our people from the growing security threat from across the border," he said.