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2019 may be the toughest test for Khattar- BJP's first time CM in Haryana

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar greets a Muslim voter during his visit to a polling station in his constituency (PTI)Premium
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar greets a Muslim voter during his visit to a polling station in his constituency (PTI)

  • The 65-years old former Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) pracharak, Khattar moved to BJP in 1994 and won his first state elections in 2014
  • The state which had been a traditional battleground for Congress and home-grown Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), witnessed BJP’s historic victory in 2014

NEW DELHI : Even as Haryana springs a surprise with its initial trends indicating a hung assembly in the state, the election may prove to be a crucial test for Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP)’s first CM in the state, Manohar Lal Khattar who rose to glory with 2014 Assembly elections.

The 65-years old former Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) pracharak, Khattar moved to BJP in 1994 and won his first state elections in 2014, when he was nominated by BJP from Karnal, despite criticism from local members of the party. Riding high on the Modi-wave, Khattar too sealed the victory with a record margin of 63, 736 votes.

The state which had been a traditional battleground for Congress and home-grown Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), witnessed BJP’s historic victory as it emerged as the single-largest party with majority in the Assembly.

As BJP created history claiming as many 47 as out of the total 90 seats, the party decided to change the state’s leadership paradigm. The state which has seen only governments led by Jat Chief Ministers over the last two decades, witnessed the swearing-in of a non-jat leader –a first-time MLA, Manohar Lal Khattar.

During the next few months, the BJP-led government announced a series of measures, beginning with the setting up of women police stations in all the districts and launch of its flagship campaign- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao in the state.

Unlike his predecessors, Khattar held his post sans any corruption charges and assured the people- a model of good governance. But his government’s biggest administrative failure came with Jat agitation in February, 2016 when protests erupted among Jats, who constitute nearly 29 % of the state’s population. The stand-off left the state paralyzed the state for ten days, leading to loss of over 30 lives and losses worth 55 crores.

His leadership came under attack yet again, when the state was hit by another wave of violence during the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim in August, 2017 leading to killing of 40 people and losses worth several crores.

Despite the increasing discontentment against Khattar and rising factionalism within the party, Khattar held the fort. At a time, when neighbouring Punjab was struggling to strengthen its crippled finances, Haryana could bring some fiscal discipline.Whether it was promoting cash-less transactions or linking various government subsidy schemes with Aadhar, the government took the lead in e-governance.

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