BJP to bank on clean image of CM Khattar in Haryana
During his fiery speech, Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar recalled how Haryana was notorious for corruption.Updated: Aug 19, 2019 03:46 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday made it amply clear that ‘clean image’ and ‘monk-like persona’ of the ‘bachelor’ chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar, will be the trump card of the party in its determined bid to retain power in the upcoming Haryana assembly elections.
This was the key takeaway from Sunday’s rain-beaten rally the party held here after seeking blessings of the local deity Kali to launch ‘Jan Ashirwad Yatra’ that will cover 2,100km and pass through all the 90 assembly segments before culminating at Rohtak on September 8.
Chief minister Khattar and central leaders of the BJP will crisscross the state in a bus specially designed as ‘rath’ and present what the speakers said ‘ a report card’ to the people.
Led by Union defence minister Rajnath Singh, the frontline BJP leaders — from Haryana and the Centre — heaped praises on Khattar for “uprooting corruption” and sent a clear message that the party was banking heavily on Khattar for its electoral fortunes.
During his fiery speech, Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar recalled how Haryana was notorious for corruption. “But Khattar changed it,” Tomar said and the crowd shouted ‘Fir ek baar, Manohar sarkar’.
In his about 30-minute high-voltage speech, BJP stalwart Rajnath Singh dwelt at length over the traits of Khattar and their 30-year-old association. In 2014 assembly elections, he had said that the BJP didn’t project any leader as chief ministerial candidate.
“Khattar has served Haryana with the spirit of a fakir,” the defence minister said.
“People of Haryana are lucky to have Manohar Lal as their chief minister, who is known for clean image. Khattar is a fakir basically, a diamond discovered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he added.
Rajnath said it was unthinkable to turn even a screw without bribe in Haryana. “That used to be the scale of corruption. But Khattar has uprooted the practice,” he added.
‘BREAK CASTE BARRIER’
Aware of Haryana constituents’ pattern of voting on caste lines, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Rajnath Singh initially touched the delicate issue indirectly.
After recounting the “good works” of Khattar government, the BJP’s warhorse “appealed” Haryana people to shun caste considerations while voting in the upcoming assembly polls.
Urging people to break the “chains of caste” while voting, he said: “I want to appeal people of Haryana…When you go to cast your vote, break the chain of caste that binds you. While pressing the button of voting machine, please bear this in mind that you must do justice with us,” he said, pointing out that the BJP does not lead by “misleading” people.
“Your chief minister has done a miraculous work,” he said. “He (Khattar) has eradicated corruption. Now corrupt cannot escape in Haryana,” Rajnath said as the crowd roared ‘Abki baar, 75 paar’.
And before winding up the address, he urged people to stand up and bless Khattar, who also came forward near the edge of the dais with folded hands and took a bow.
KHATTAR SEEKS BLESSINGS
Earlier, in his crisp 15-minute speech, Khattar said he had come to seek blessing of the people. He said his focus was on transparency and changing the style of governance.
“Many cribbed when I introduced changes, but most of you who benefited from the new and transparent initiative patted us,” he said.
“Our aim and game is different,” Khattar said, pointing out how the opposition parties when in power used to focus on family first and resorted to corruption.
“We come to power to serve. My aim is jan seva,” he added.