JJP chief Dushyant Chautala has lent support to the BJP in Haryana, even as the Shiv Sena’s Aaditya Thackeray jockeys for a potential chief ministerial position in Maharashtra. (PTI )
JJP chief Dushyant Chautala has lent support to the BJP in Haryana, even as the Shiv Sena’s Aaditya Thackeray jockeys for a potential chief ministerial position in Maharashtra. (PTI )

BJP strikes deal with JJP, all set to return to power in Haryana

  • BJP’s Manohar Lal Khattar will continue to be chief minister while the deputy chief minister will be from JJP
  • The move is significant as it clears the decks for the BJP’s return to power in the state

NEW DELHI : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to return to power in Haryana.

BJP president Amit Shah late on Friday evening said his party will enter into a coalition with Dushyant Chautala-led Jannayak Janta Party (JJP). The newly formed alliance is likely to stake claim to form the government on Saturday.

According to the agreement between the two parties, the BJP’s Manohar Lal Khattar will continue to be chief minister while the deputy chief minister will be from JJP.

“Accepting the mandate by the people of Haryana, leaders of both parties have decided that BJP-JJP will form the government together in Haryana. CM will be from BJP and deputy CM will be from JJP," Shah said.

The alliance is in line with the “spirit" of people’s mandate, Shah told a press conference held jointly with Chautala. The two were also joined by Khattar, who said both parties had worked together in the past. Chautala said his party believed the alliance was necessary for stability in Haryana.

The move is significant as it clears the decks for the BJP’s return to power in the state. With 10 MLAs, JJP’s support will bolster the tally of the saffron party which fell six short of a majority.

Earlier in the day, Chautala said JJP would join hands with any political party that agreed to a common minimum programme. “Whether it is the Congress or the BJP, if our support is needed for improvement of Haryana we will be happy," Chautala told reporters in the national capital.

Meanwhile, in Maharashtra, a day after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) got a clear majority, the BJP was yet to reach common ground on a power-sharing formula with long-time ally Shiv Sena.

The BJP wants Devendra Fadnavis to continue as chief minister for a full second term. However, Shiv Sena wants to shift the alliance dynamics in its favour with a 50:50 formula this time around, where the two parties will share the chief ministership for two-and-a-half years each.

Shiv Sena made its intentions clear when posters proclaiming Aaditya Thackeray as the CM mushroomed across his constituency in Worli.

Another NDA ally, Ramdas Athawale, the chief of Republican Party of India (Athawale), or RPI(A), also put forth his demands. “We demand one cabinet and one state minister berth in Maharashtra government. (Union home minister) Amit Shah will visit Mumbai to hold discussions and meet Uddhav Thackeray on who all will be made ministers in the state cabinet," he said.

Though top Congress and Nationalist Congress Party leaders in Maharashtra mostly refrained from speculating on government formation, the Congress’ state unit chief, Balasaheb Thorat, said there was no proposal from the Shiv Sena yet on government formation. If it does make an approach, the party high command in Delhi would be consulted, ANI quoted him as saying.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and BJP general secretary Arun Singh, who reached Chandigarh on Thursday, will hold a Haryana legislative party meeting on Saturday.

“There will be a meeting of the legislative party in Chandigarh tomorrow. FM Sitharaman and Arun Singh will be there as observers. Leader of the legislative party will be elected tomorrow. After that we will meet the governor to stake claim to form the government in Haryana," said general secretary Anil Jain, who is the BJP in-charge of the state.

On Friday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, too, held a meeting of the party’s top brass—a 17-member group— at her official residence. While the results came up for discussion briefly, the larger focus was on how to raise people’s issues such as farmers’ woes, industry, traders and unemployment.

Shah’s statement on Haryana helped clear confusion on whether the BJP, having won 40 seats in the 90-member assembly, would seek the support of independent MLAs or JJP. The BJP’s central leadership had appeared divided over whether to take support from Gopal Kanda, the Sirsa MLA and member of the Haryana Lokhit Party. Kanda has rape charges against him and is the main accused in the suicide of Geetika Sharma, a former air hostess in the now-defunct MDLR Airlines, which was owned by Kanda.

“I would request BJP that we should not forget our core beliefs. We should form government in Haryana, but we should take support of clean image," former Union minister Uma Bharati tweeted.

gyan.v@livemint.com

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