Ready for assembly elections along with Lok Sabha polls, says Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar
Khattar has also cleared the haze surrounding the sudden spurt in BJP’s range of ‘connect to people’ programmes after recent visits of BJP president Amit Shah to Haryana.india Updated: Jul 18, 2018 14:05 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Haryana is “fully prepared” and “sees benefits” in seeking fresh mandate along with the Lok Sabha polls, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said on Tuesday.
Khattar’s surprising stance is contrary to his earlier stand that Haryana Vidhan Sabha elections will be held in October 2019 as per schedule and not simultaneously with Lok Sabha polls.
By admitting that he would favour advancing the assembly polls, Khattar has also cleared the haze surrounding the sudden spurt in BJP’s range of ‘connect to people’ programmes after recent visits of BJP president Amit Shah to Haryana.
On the other hand, the main opposition INLD has been mobilising its cadre via the ‘jail bharo’ programmes and the Congress leaders are reaching out to their cadre through yatras and regular public meetings.
Hence, Haryana is already in a poll mode.
“The BJP is fully prepared for assembly elections along with Lok Sabha polls, and the perception is that opting for simultaneous polls will help the party in Haryana,” Khattar said, responding to pointed questions of Hindustan Times, during an hour-long interaction with a select group of reporters at his official residence here.
Initially, the first-time MLA and chief minister said the primary reason behind his programmes such as ‘Chai-pe-charcha’, road shows, “Rahgiri’ and other BJP leaders and ministers reaching out to people and the media in equal measure was aimed at preparing the cadre for Lok Sabha polls and that the party had to prepare for assembly elections as well.
“While preparing for Lok Sabha elections, in case we are asked to hold assembly elections also under any policy of the Centre in that case we see a benefit in that. We have no problem. The party is ready,” said Khattar, who was an RSS pracharak before he took over as 20th chief minister of Haryana in October 2014.
Asked about his personal views on Haryana opting for assembly elections with the general elections, Khattar said: “This is not our demand, but there are a host of benefits...‘One nation, one poll’ policy has many benefits and we are already in a poll mode.”
According to Khattar, the only hurdle was that the Election Commission (EC) can advance the assembly elections only by six months before the due date.
Asked what if Lok Sabha elections are also advanced, Khattar said: “Mujhe lagta nahi hai (I don’t think so).”
In the event of general elections being held in “November-December”, he said, holding Haryana assembly polls will be impossible. “The EC will agree for early Haryana assembly polls if Lok Sabha elections are held in April-May. EC will not advance assembly polls by almost one year,” Khattar said, indicating that he considered Congress as main challenger.
Describing the current political scenario of the state as “uncertain”, he hinted that the BJP is watching closely the leadership tussle in the Congress and the cases against former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
“There is a complete uncertainty in Congress. Who will lead the Congress? We are confident about ourselves as we have done all-round development, brought about transparency in governance and eradicated corruption while ensuring good governance,” he said.
In the 90-member Haryana assembly, the BJP has 47 MLAs, INLD 19, Congress 17, while there are 5 Independents. The BSP and SAD has one MLA each.