Stung by criticism of the political opponents and the media over its functioning, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s first anniversary in power in Haryana ended sans celebrations in chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s home constituency of Karnal.
In the history of Haryana, it was for the first time that a CM was elected from the northern region of the state. Also, it was for the first time that the saffron party enjoyed full majority in the assembly.
Minister of state for food and civil supplies Karan Dev Kamboj represents Indri assembly constituency in Karnal whereas Assandh legislator Bakhshish Singh Virk is a chief parliamentary secretary (CPS).
However, the spirit of the BJP leaders and workers remained dampened on Monday.
Unlike political tradition, the party workers chose not to distribute ladoos among residents and burst crackers in the busy localities of the city.
No political function or rally was convened to celebrate the occasion.
State BJP co-spokesperson Jagmohan Anand held a customary press conference where he recalled the achievements of the government in the past one year.
However, even the press briefing appeared a half-hearted affair as the officer of special duty (OSD) to Khattar at his Karnal camp office Amarendra Singh remained absent.
Also, the party president of CM’s district Ashok Sukhija chose to stay away from the event.
The district administration issued formal news briefs about the state government’s achievements.
Khattar, Kamboj, Virk and Gharaunda legislator Harvinder Kalyan were scheduled to participate at a ‘Hasya Kavi Sammelan’ but they chose to skip the function orgainsed by a local social organisation to mark the completion of the BJP government’s first year in power.
However, the BJP sources said that the spirit of party functionaries was dampened as they felt neglected in their own government.
“Being the CM’s city, Karnal has a political significance. But the leadership of the district feels dejected. A group of Karnal residents, who earlier had allegiance with the Congress government, have floated an organisation and regularly invite Khattar for various functions. As the district leadership is not taken into confidence about the CM’s attendance in such functions, the party’s is ridiculed by the city residents,” said a BJP leader.
Another leader said that appointment of an ‘outsider’ as Khattar’s OSD in Karnal had led to disappointment among the committed BJP leaders.
“Amarendra Singh is a committed RSS activist and handling his work efficiently. As Khattar and his OSD chose not to keep any local leader in the core team of the CM’s camp office, leaders remained hesitant to approach a ‘newcomer’ in the district. It is a common feeling among local leaders that someone from the district unit should be entrusted with important political assignment at the camp office for better liaisoning with residents,” he said.
They said that people had high expectations but the ‘inexperienced’ Khattar took a long time to assess bureaucrats.
“No one can question Khattar’s integrity and his no-nonsense approach towards corruption is clear down the line. As he is a novice in running the government, he tested several individuals for assisting in governance,” said the party sources.