Peeved at their ‘neglect’, several MLAs of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday conveyed their ire against the functioning of the state government, headed by Manohar Lal Khattar, to the party’s central leadership.
The miffed legislators, who have openly questioned the state government’s working style and contentious decisions in recent weeks, expressed displeasure at a party meeting in Delhi with the present set-up for the “step-motherly treatment” being meted out to them.
The meeting held by joint general secretary (organisation) V Satish had the ruling party’s plans to celebrate its resounding victory in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh across the state on March 18 and the need to boost social media outreach to publicise its welfare initiatives among its main agenda.
While most party legislators were present in the meeting, the disgruntled group, whose number has doubled to 16 in the past six weeks, set the tone when asked for feedback and made their discontent known.
Uchana Kalan MLA Prem Lata said though the agenda of the meeting was different, several legislators candidly expressed their views. “There are issues such as freehand allowed to the state bureaucracy, neglect and lack of progress on development works that have riled the legislators. The members raised all these concerns in the meeting,” she told HT.
Prem Lata added that her own area was neglected by the (Om Prakash) Chautala-led INLD government for five years, (Bhupinder Singh) Hooda government for the next 10 years. “It has been more than two years now. We want speedy progress on projects. We will have to face the people,” she said.
HT spoke to half-a-dozen legislators, including Randhir Singh Kapriwas (Rewari), Santosh Sarwan (Mullana) and Umesh Aggarwal (Gurgaon), who confirmed having raised the issue of discrimination – “preferential treatment” to some MLAs and “neglect” of others by their own government.
However, some of them cloaked their criticism by attributing the “free rein to officials and their overassertive attitude” to the chief minister’s sharafat (decency).
Kapriwas said they had nothing against any individual but wanted ‘vyavastha parivartan (change in system). A few of them met Satish individually, however he gave them no assurance.
But, not everyone was piqued with the bureaucracy or the working of the state government. Several other MLAs, who are not part of this miffed group, spoke on the achievements of the state government.
While BJP state unit chief Subhash Barala attended the meeting, neither Khattar nor any of his ministerial colleagues were present. The chief minister held an ‘informal meeting’ of his cabinet colleagues and a meeting of party MPs was also held. The core group of the party also met on Thursday evening. On Wednesday, a meeting of district party heads and members of the state executive was also held where the party leaders had raised similar concerns and questioned decisions related to Gwal Pahari land and change in route of metro rail.
Meanwhile, CM’s media adviser Amit Arya termed the meetings as a “routine exercise” held every three months for feedback and better coordination between the party and the government. “It is getting more attention because of a few concerns raised by some MLAs. They have no complaints with the CM. There are mainly issues related to officials or their attitude. This feedback will make the working more robust and improve coordination between the government and the party,” he said.