Before Punjab CM Channi, Dalit leaders who held the top post in country

© Provided by Hindustan Times (Clockwise from top left): Damodar Sanjivayya; Bhola Paswan Shastri; Ram Sundar Das; Jitan Ram Manjhi; Sushilkumar Shinde; and Mayawati (HT archive)

Charanjit Singh Channi became the first Dalit chief minister of Punjab on Monday a day after the ruling Congress nominated him for the post. A member of the Ramdasia community, he is among a handful of Dalits who have served as chief ministers:

— Damodaram Sanjivayya (Andhra Pradesh) was the first Dalit to become a chief minister. He held the post from January 1960 to March 1962. In 1962, Sanjivayya went on to become the first Dalit chief of the Congress.

— Bhola Paswan Shastri, a freedom fighter, served as Bihar’s chief minister from 1968 to 1971. He was also the first Dalit to be elected as the state’s top official.

Also Read | Punjab CM Channi, Sidhu to visit Delhi, hold talks on cabinet expansion

— Ram Sundar Das, another freedom fighter, became the second Dalit chief minister of Bihar in 1979.

— Mayawati, the Bahujan Samaj Party chief, a Dalit, has served as Uttar Pradesh chief minister four times. She is also the lone woman member of the community to have held the post.

— Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde, a Dalit, has served as the Maharashtra chief minister as well as a Union minister.

— Jitan Ram Manjhi served as Bihar’s third Dalit chief minister from May 2014 to February 2015.

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