Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday announced Charanjit Singh Channi as the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections.

He made the announcement during a virtual rally in Ludhiana.

Ahead of the announcement, Congress’s Punjab unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu had said that he will accept Gandhi’s decision, ANI reported. Sidhu was also reportedly being considered for the position.

“...if I am given decision-making power, I will finish the mafia, improve people’s lives,” Sidhu had said. “If not given power, I will walk with a smile.”

In January, Gandhi had said that Congress will decide on the chief ministerial candidate after consulting its workers.

“Ordinarily, we do not do this [declaring a chief ministerial face],” the Congress leader had said in a rally held in Jalandhar. “But if the Congress party, the Congress workers and Punjab so desire, we will take the decision on the chief minister.”

Channi the incumbent chief minister of Punjab. He was given the post on September 19, a day after Amarinder Singh stepped down.

He is Punjab’s first Dalit chief minister. He is an MLA from the Chamkaur Sahib constituency and has also served as the state’s technical education minister.

Punjab will go to poll in a single phase on February 20. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.