Even without an invitation, the people of this native village of Haryana’s chief minister designate Manohar Lal Khattar are making big preparations to attend his swearing-in ceremony in Panchkula on Sunday.
From getting new kurta-pyjamas stitched to looking for labourers to work in their absence, they are busy so as to not miss the show. “So many people have requested to attend this big day of their ‘Manu’ (as the CM designate is know in his village) that we’ve had to hire five buses (to take them to the ceremony),” said Banyani villager Anil Vij, who has his shop at the Rohtak grain market.
Parveen Khattar, nephew of the CM designate, is looking after the transport arrangements. “Not a single man from here has ever attended any oath-taking ceremony, so no villager wants to miss this lifetime experience,” he said.
Villager Mai Lal, claiming to be an ardent supporter of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the past three decades, has got a special kurta-pyjama stitched for the occasion. It is designed like the saffron party flag.
Paras Ram Yadav, a senior citizen living next to Khattar's ancestral house, expects to start for Panchkula as early as 4am on October 26, in the company of a village band that will play drums throughout the journey.
Flooded with congratulators since the day the news broke out that Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) ideologue Khattar would be next chief minister, the entire Banyani and even nearby villages have kept “laddoos” ready for visitors. A village elder remembers that the last time Banyani saw so much excitement was when former chief minister Bansi Lal had come over in the late 1990s. “This time, one of their own is becoming CM, so the excitement is even more,” he said.
Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also scheduled to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new Haryana CM, the BJP is preparing to make it a grand-scale event.