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Jat stir: Khattar busy dousing fire, investor-wooing takes a back seat

The violent quota stir by Jats that kept Haryana on the boil for a week has cast a shadow on the first mega investment summit planned by the state next month.

Haryana Jat Quota Updated: Feb 24, 2016 12:29 IST
Navneet Sharma
Navneet Sharma
Hindustan Times
Manohar Lal Khattar,Jat agitation,Rohtak
Union minister of urban development, housing and urban poverty alleviation and parliamentary affairs Venkaiah Naidu and CM of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar attend a meeting for Jat reservation issue. (HT Photo)

The violent quota stir by Jats that kept Haryana on the boil for a week has cast a shadow on the first mega investment summit planned by the state next month.

With chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar busy dealing with the agitation with the help of army and paramilitary forces, investor-wooing has taken a back seat. The CM was scheduled to hold a roadshow in Bengaluru, known as the Silicon Valley of India, on Tuesday to reach out to business honchos of the city and promote his state as an investment destination before the three-day summit, but he pulled out of the event to deal with the unprecedented crisis—also, his first serious political challenge —that has singed the state.

Khattar chose to travel to Rohtak, the Jat agitation’s epicentre, where he had to face heckling and was shown black flags by traders and businessmen whose properties were set ablaze by rampaging mobs in the past week. While principal secretary, industries, Devender Singh is stationed in the stir-hit Sonepat as special officer for ensuring peace and order in the area, a team of officers, including Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) managing director Sudhir Rajpal, was sent for the last of the five roadshows held by the state government to interact with heads of domestic and foreign companies.

Khattar, his ministers, chief secretary and several top bureaucrats had attended similar roadshows org anised by the state government in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata in the run-up to ‘Happening Haryana-Global Investors Summit-2016’ to be held in Gurgaon on March 7-8. On March 9, Pravasi Haryana Divas will also be organised in the city.

Summit to be put off?

While the CM is promoting Haryana with “peace and order” as the calling card, a violent stir that saw attacks on shops and businesses, besides forcing India’s biggest car-maker halt production at one stage due to disruption in the supply of components, was the last thing his government needed at this time. The state, which has been running a high-visibility campaign on both social and traditional media to promote its efforts, could not have got worse publicity with just two weeks to go for the mega event.

While government officials are still to fully assess the fallout of the mishappenings in the state on participation in the global investors’ summit and the pravasi meet, there is already talk that the state government may postpone the three-day event due to the sudden turn of events, depending on how the situation develops from here. “There have been suggestions to put off the summit due to the prevailing circumstances. The matter is under discussion. The chief minister will take the final decision on this,” a CM aide told Hindustan Times.

However, Devender Singh said preparations were on for holding the summit. “What happened was a one-off incident. It was not a regular law and order problem. The solution has been found, both politically and administratively, and things sorted out. There should not be any cause of concern for the investors,” he said.

The state government has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the summit, but he is yet to accept it. However, Union minister for roads and transport minister Nitin Gadkari has given his confirmation for the valedictory session.

First Published: Feb 24, 2016 11:36 IST