Home >politics >policy >Haryana gets first BJP CM as Khattar takes oath

Panchkula: Manohar Lal Khattar, a low-profile organisation man with an active RSS background, was on Sunday sworn in as the chief minister of Haryana, where the BJP has formed a government for the first time on its own.

Sixty-year-old Khattar, a first-time MLA from Karnal and a non-Jat leader known to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was administered the oath along with nine ministers by Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki at a function here attended by a galaxy of BJP leaders including the PM, party chief Amit Shah, Union ministers, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states and veteran leaders L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi. The six cabinet ministers are Kavita Jain, state BJP president Ram Bilas Sharma, Abhimanyu, Om Parkash Dhankar, Anil Vij and Narbir Singh.

Three others— Vikram Singh Thekedar, Krishan Kumar Bedi and Karan Dev Kamboj—are ministers of state (independent charge). Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, whose party SAD had opposed the BJP during the assembly elections despite being an NDA constituent, also attended the ceremony. Among Union Ministers who were present were home minister Rajnath Singh, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, power minister Piyush Goyal, food minister Ram Vilas Paswan, minister of shipping and transport Krishan Pal Gujjar, minister of women and child development Maneka Gandhi, minister of state of external affairs V K Singh and minister of chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar.

Chief ministers of BJP-ruled states including Madhya Pradesh’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje from Rajasthan and Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel were also present on the occasion. In a departure from the past, the oath-taking function was held at Panchkula instead of Chandigarh, the common capital of both Haryana and Punjab.

Khattar is Haryana’s first non-Jat chief minister in nearly two decades.

Born in Rohtak district, Khattar, a bachelor who once wanted to become a doctor, had contested his first assembly elections from Karnal where he won by a margin of 63,736 votes. He joined RSS as a full-time pracharak in 1980 and after 14 years of service to the Sangh, Khattar was moved to the BJP as party general secretary in Haryana in 1994.

Apart from his crucial role in the party’s success in states such as Punjab, Haryana and Chhattisgarh, he was given prominent roles in various elections in different states where he always delivered results.

Bhajan Lal was the last non-Jat chief minister of Haryana who held office from 1991 to 1996. After his exit Bansi Lal, Om Parkash Chautala (twice) and Bhupinder Singh Hooda (twice) were the chief ministers. B.D. Sharma, Rao Birender Singh, B D Gupta and Bhajan Lal were the other non-Jat chief ministers of Haryana, which was carved out as a separate state in 1966.

In the October 15 assembly polls, the BJP won 47 seats while the rest were shared by INLD (19), Congress (15) and HJC-BL (2). BSP and SAD got one seat each while five were won by Independents.

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