Manohar Lal Khattar takes oath as Haryana CM for second term, Dushyant Chautala as his deputy
The governor had invited Manohar Lal Khattar to form the government when the latter met him to stake his claim to form the government with the backing of 10 JJP legislators and seven independent MLAs.Updated: Oct 27, 2019, 16:07 IST
Manohar Lal Khattar was sworn in as Haryana’s chief minister for the second term on Sunday. The BJP leader was administered the oath of office by governor Satyadeo Narain Arya in Chandigarh.
Dushyant Chautala, whose fledgling Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) is backing the BJP, was sworn in as deputy chief minister. His father Ajay, lodged in the Tihar Jail in Delhi after his conviction in a teachers’ recruitment scam also attended the swearing in ceremony after being granted furlough for two weeks.
The governor had invited Khattar to form the government when the latter met him to stake his claim to form the government with the backing of 10 JJP legislators and seven independent MLAs. The BJP won 40 seats and Khattar now has the support of 57 members in a House of 90. In 2014, the BJP had won 47 seats.
The 31-year-old Chautala and BJP leaders late Friday announced a power-sharing agreement to ensure a stable government after the October 21 assembly elections produced a hung assembly in which the BJP fell short of simple majority by six seats. The Congress performed better than expected with 31 seats, compared with the 15 it won in 2014.
BJP working president JP Nadda, Union ministers and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, including Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat and Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur attended the swearing-in ceremony.
Ahead of deciding to support the BJP, Chautala had said, “We will support whichever party agrees to implement our agenda as part of a common minimum programme. The JJP will ally with any party that promises 75% reservation of jobs for Haryanvis in Haryana and continues with pension for senior citizens.”
While the BJP managed to retain power in Haryana despite falling far short of its target of 75 seats, there is disquiet among the JJP cadre for tying up with the saffron party after it had banked on the support of Jats who were angry with the ruling party.
Their grouse is that they backed the Congress and the JJP for their winnability quotient and the JJP joining hands with the BJP is tantamount to stabbing Jats in the back.
It was the result of Jat community voters’ open support to the JJP and the Congress that halted the BJP’s march towards crossing the halfway mark in the assembly.
On counting day on October 24, two-time Congress chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had urged the JJP, INLD and independents to come together and support the grand old party form a government and stop the BJP.
Dushyant Chauthala, however, chose to spurn Hooda’s offer.
“Haryana Congress is in the hands of a leader who ruled the state for 10 years and sold 63,000 acre land,” Dushyant had said in a veiled attack on Hooda before throwing in his lot with the BJP.
The JJP chief who had been in pole position when the negotiations started with the BJP, may not be left with much heft to keep Khattar on his toes given that the BJP has the support of seven Independents.