Dealing with demanding JJP a tough task for Khattar

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By, Chandigarh
Oct 27, 2019 04:06 PM IST

Among other key challenges ahead of Khattar are improving Haryana’s financial, agricultural and industrial growth and meeting expectations of the youth

A litany of celebrations has already unfolded in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Haryana unit with Manohar Lal Khattar-led government starting its second innings on Sunday.

HT Image
HT Image

While there is a sense of disquiet among foot soldiers of the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) for embracing the BJP, political observers are debating whether Khattar can surmount the innumerable challenges his government will face in the second innings, including dealing with the ambitious coalition partner, the JJP.

In the run up to October 21 assembly elections, the JJP banked on the support of Jats who were angry with the BJP.

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 90-member Vidhan Sabha.

In 2014, the BJP had come to power for the first time winning 47 seats. This time, it won 40 seats, while the JJP got 10 MLAs.

Most of the JJP legislators scripted the defeat of BJP’s top guns. Former finance minister Capt Abhimanyu and state BJP chief Subhash Barala suffered humiliating defeats at the hands of JJP candidates.

The immediate challenge before the JJP is how to blunt the Congress’ attack which has described JJP’s truck with the BJP as an unholy alliance and brewing anger among its core support base — the Jats.

As per reports, Jats in the hinterland are surprised with Dushyant’s decision who on Saturday said his party also contested election against the Congress.

“Haryana Congress is in the hands of a leader who ruled the state for 10 years and sold 63,000 acre land,” Dushyant said in a veiled attack on Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

“Supporting the Congress would have meant going against the wishes of jannayak Chaudhary Devi Lal, who had left the Congress before 1977,” he added.

However, Jats in the villages are unconvinced.

Their common grouse is that they backed the Congress and the JJP for their winnability quotient. Now, they say, the JJP joining hands with the BJP is tantamount to stabbing Jats in the back.

Analysts say the first challenge before the straightforward Khattar will be to tackle delicately the emboldened JJP.

The financial state of Haryana is not in pink of health, its agricultural and industrial growth is sluggish and the aspirations of the youth are soaring.

Analysts say as the BJP has support of seven Independents, chances of the JJP indulging in arm twisting its senior coalition partner are bleak.

“The BJP has independents to silence the JJP and the JJP to tackle the ambitious independents,” a political analyst said.

It is the combination of using the JJP to checkmate independents and vice versa that prompted the BJP to drop like a hot potato the decision to seek support of controversial MLA Gopal Kanda, who was hoping to be a kingmaker.

JJP’s poll symbol is the key. And Dushyant, who outfoxed the experienced INLD supremo and his grandfather OP Chautala, knows the tricks of using the key tactfully.


    Pawan Sharma, based in Chandigarh, is Punjab’s Chief-of-Bureau, Hindustan Times. In the past 16 years, stints in Delhi and Himachal Pradesh including, he has done high-impact stories on Tibetan affairs, judiciary, politics and corruption in governments.

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