Manohar Lal Khattar to Be New Haryana CM

Manohar Lal Khattar to Be New Haryana CM
Manohar Lal Khattar to Be New Haryana CM

Manohar Lal Khattar, a low-profile organisation man with active RSS background and a non-Jat, was today chosen by the BJP to be its first Chief Minister of Haryana, a state dominated by Jat politics for long.

60-year-old Khattar, the first Punjabi and a first- time MLA, was elected leader of the BJP Legislature Party, two days after the party created history in Haryana storming to power for the first time on its own in the state.

B D Sharma, Rao Birender Singh, B D Gupta and Bhajan Lal were the other non-Jat Chief Ministers of Haryana in five decades of its existence.

The election came at a meeting of 47 newly-elected MLAs at the Chandigarh UT Guest House, Parliamentary Affairs Ministers Venkaiah Naidu and party Vice President Dinesh Sharma, who attended the meeting as central observers, told reporters.

Khattar, a bachelor, who once wanted to become a doctor, has almost 40 years of active and dedicated service to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and BJP.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of State BJP chief Ram Bilas Sharma, the MLA from Mahendergarh, who was also a Chief Ministerial aspirant.

"In the meeting, Sharma proposed Khattar's name and others including (MLAs) Capt Abhimanyu, Anil Vij, O P Dhankar (who were also CM aspirants), Kavita Jain and others supported it.

"Khattar was unanimously chosen as the leader of the Haryana BJP legislature party," Naidu told the media.

In the afternoon, accompanied by a delegation comprising Naidu, Dinesh Sharma, party leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya, Jagdish Mukhi, Anil Jain, Ram Bilas Sharma, Capt Abhimanyu, Khattar reached the Raj Bhawan and handed over a letter to Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki staking claim to form the next government.

The Governor accepted the claim and invited Khattar to form the governmen. He will take oath on October 26.

In a departure from the past when oath ceremonies of the Chief Ministers were held at Chandigarh, this time the function will be held at Tau Devi Lal stadium, Panchkula, in the morning.

The fact that the BJP fielded Khattar from Karnal, considered a rather safe seat for the party, had given enough hints of its plans for the Punjabi leader.

"Khattar is our senior leader, organisation man, grassroot level leader. He has worked at different levels. He has worked in J and K, H.P., whereever the party has entrusted him responsibility, he has delivered," Naidu said.

He assured the people of Haryana that Centre will work shoulder-to-shoulder with the next state government.

While party sources said that prominent Chief Ministerial aspirants including Capt Abhimanyu, Anil Vij, Ram Bilas Sharma, O P Dhankar were likely to get a Cabinet berth, Naidu said the decision on who all will be inducted will be taken by Khattar in consultation with other colleagues.

The sources also said that the loyalists of Union Minister and Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh, who had joined the BJP before the Lok Sabha polls from the Congress, had tried to build up pressure on the party to consider his name as Chief Minister since he was prominent leader from the Ahirwal belt, where the party had performed well both in the LS and Vidhan Sabha elections.

While Union Minister and Faridabad MP K P Gujjar was present at the venue of today's meeting, Rao Inderjit and another prominent leader Birender Singh, who recently joined the BJP after deserting the Congress, were not seen.

However, Birender Singh's wife and newly elected Uchana Kalan MLA, Prem Lata Singh told reporters that her husband's name should have been considered for the CM's post.

Born in Rohtak district, Khattar had contested the Assembly elections from Karnal. He won the Karnal seat with a margin of 63,736 votes. He is stated to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.

With Khattar's election, Haryana will get a non-Jat Chief Minister after 18 years.

Bhajan Lal was the last non-Jat Chief Minister who held office from 1991 to 1996. After his exit Bansi Lal, Om Parkash Chautala (twice) and Bhupinder Singh Hooda (twice) were the Chief Ministers.

The saffron party won 47 seats while the rest were shared by INLD 19, INC 15, HJC-BL two, one each of BSP and SAD and five Independents.

BSP, which is not part of the BJP-led NDA at the Centre, however, gave a letter of support to the BJP to the Governor.

BSP's Tek Chand Sharma was the lone party legislator to be elected from Prithla Assembly constituency defeating his nearest rival BJP's Nayan Pal Rawat by 1179 votes.

Three Independent MLAs Ravinder Machrouli (Samalkha), Rais Khan (Punhana) and Dinesh Kaushik (Pundri) also handed over to the Governor their letters extending support to the BJP, according to Haryana BJP leader Vir Kumar Yadav, who also said that the four legislators had extended their "unconditional support".


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