A BJP government is likely to take over in Haryana on October 26 - two days after Diwali - with the party planning a grand show for the swearing-in of its first chief minister in the Jat land.
"October 25 is an auspicious day, but we would have little time in hand after Diwali to prepare for a grand swearing in ceremony. A new government will most likely take over on October 26, which is also an auspicious day," a senior BJP leader told HT.
BJP MLAs are meeting in Chandigarh on Tuesday to elect leader of the legislature party, with Karnal MLA Manohar Lal Khattar emerging as the front runner for the CM post. Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu and BJP vice-president Dinesh Sharma will oversee the election of the leader at the legislature party meeting.
Khattar - a Punjabi - faces competition from Brahmin leader Ram Bilas Sharma and Jat leader Captain Abhimanyu, the Narnaund MLA.
"The majority view is in favour of having a non-Jat as chief minister. But the last word on who gets the CM's post is yet to be spoken," another BJP leader said.
Khattar, a sworn bachelor, enjoys the confidence of RSS as well Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But, the lack of administrative experience and mass popularity may be a spoiler for him.
Khattar has worked as organising secretary in Haryana BJP when Modi was the in-charge of party affairs in the state. The fact that BJP fielded him from Karnal, considered a safe seat for the party gave ample indication of saffron party's plans for the Punjabi leader.
Maha CM hopefuls
As race for the CM's post in Maharashtra gathered momentum, BJP leaders Eknath Khadse, Vinod Tawde, Sudhir Mungantiwar and state spokesman Madhav Bhandari, who was instrumental in the good show in western Maharashtra, are frontrunners for Cabinet posts.