Sidelights: Khattar’s swearing-in ceremony
WHEN SROW SPOILED KHATTAR’S SWEARING IN
The second innings of Manohar Lal Khattar as the Haryana chief minister on Sunday began on an ominous note. Sameer Pal Srow, the promotee IAS officer, who heads Haryana’s public relations department, did everything to “break relations” with the electronic media by angrily shouting at them from the stage repeatedly. And after the ceremony was over, “Khattar sarkaar, hai-hai” sloganeering reverberated at Raj Bhawan.
Before the beginning of the ceremony, the electronic media was reporting live from the open space between the stage and the front row, called D, about the arrival of prominent political leaders. Srow wanted them to leave that place. But his mannerism was unworthy of the occasion and the post he holds. Of course, Srow’s conduct sparked off heated arguments.
OVER IN 10 MINUTES
Khattar reached the swearing-in ceremony stage along with Dushyant Chautala at 2.15pm sharp. Accompanying Khattar was BJP national working president Jagat Prakash Nadda, who hails from neighbouring Himachal. Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya arrived at 2.17pm. Khattar took oath of office in the name of “Ishwar” (God). And the ceremony was over at 2.25pm.
JAILED AJAY CHAUTALA ON STAGE
Ajay Chautala, who was released on furlough from Tihar Jail, was among the first “very important persons” to arrive. Of course, it was an emotional moment for Ajay as his elder and dynamic son Dushyant Chautala was being sworn in as deputy chief minister. Ajay was accorded unexpectedly a very warm welcome. He was made to sit on the dais in the company of political cream of the region for quite some time. First among the VVIPs to take seat on the stage was ever agile and always smiling Parkash Singh Badal. Then came Ajay, who touched the feet of former five-time Punjab CM, and took seat in the second row.
After Himachal CM Jai Ram Thakur, Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, and Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar came and took seats, Ajay was seen coming down from the dais. Punjab governor VP Singh Badnore also attended the ceremony and his seat was close to where earlier Ajay was sitting.
VETERAN DHINDSA IN THE CROWD
The old warhorse and veteran Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who recently resigned as SAD leader in the Rajya Sabha, also attended the oath-taking ceremony. Dhindsa’s closeness to the BJP has raised hackles of the SAD leadership. At the ceremony, Dhindsa sat on the corner chair in the first row on the ground at a safe distance from SAD chief and former Punjab deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, who preferred a seat in the middle of the front row.
BUSY GIVING BITES
Digvijay Chautala, the younger brother of Dushyant Chautala, was among the first from the Chautala family to reach the venue. He is quite a darling of the regional electronic media. Right from the beginning of the oath-taking ceremony and even after the guests had dispersed after splurging the Raj Bhawan feast, younger Chautala was busy giving bites to TV channels. So much so that the ambitious young leader kept speaking to a TV crew even while leaving the venue when most of the members of his family had left in swanky high-end SUVs. Worth listening the pearls of his wisdom!
SUPPORTERS GIVEN THIRD-RATE TREATMENT
The swearing-in ceremony venue left supporters disappointed. The area in front of the dais had dozen-odd rows of chairs for the VIPs. And this was out of bound for the common public. A makeshift wall was in place behind the last row of the VIP chairs. The foot soldiers of the BJP-JJP had come from across the state to witness the function. But they were pushed to the background like third-class citizens.
Naina Chautala, Ajay Chautala’s wife who is MLA from Badhra, and Meghna, wife of Dushyant Chautala also attended the ceremony.
Former ministers Ram Bilas Sharma, Capt Abhimanyu and OP Dhankar came together in a car.
The sole MLA of the Indian National Lok Dal Abhay Chautala, who is younger brother of Ajay Chautala, gave the function a miss.
Chaos prevailed at the parking in the UT Guest House as well as all the roads around because of a huge number of visitors and their vehicles.