CHANDIGARH: Haryana is set to get its first non-Jat Chief Minister after a gap of 18 years as the newly elected BJP BJP MLAs on Tuesday unanimously elected Manohar Lal Khattar as Leader of the BJP Legislature Party (LP). And the veteran leader, 60, will also become the state’s first BJP Chief Minister. He will be sworn in as Chief Minister on Sunday.
It was at the meeting of the BJP’s 47 MLAs, which was also attended by the party’s central observers, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu and party vice-president Dinesh Sharma, that state BJP chief Ram Bilas Sharma proposed Khattar’s name and it was seconded by several MLAs, including Capt Abhimanyu and Prem Lata (wife of Birender Singh who joined the BJP recently).
A former RSS member for four decades, will be the 10th Chief Minister of the state. Besides being a non-Jat he will become the first Punjabi to become the Chief Minister of Haryana.
The first-time MLA from Karnal is believed to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he won this seat by a margin of 63,736 votes.
“The MLAs have elected me as Leader of BJP Legislature Party. It was a unanimous decision. We are going to the Governor and will stake our claim to form the government,” Khattar said and after that he met the Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, who invited him to form the new government.
The oath-taking ceremony will take place at the Tau Devi Lal Sports Stadium in Panchkula, near here, instead of the Haryana Raj Bhavan. Khattar said, “ We will ensure good and corruption free governance in the state. I want to assure the public that we will carry out development in the state as per Prime Minister Modi’s vision. There will be no biased development which the state has experienced. There will be all-round development of Haryana be it South or North Haryana.’’
“The BJP had a team of experienced leaders who are capable of taking the state to newer heights as far as development is concerned,’’ he said.
Bhajan Lal was the last non-Jat Chief Minister who held office from 1991 to 1996. The very fact that the BJP fielded him from Karnal, considered a rather safe seat for the party, gave ample indication of its plans for the Punjabi leader.
The other contenders for the post of Chief Minister were Capt Abhimanyu, Ram Bilas Sharma and O P Dhankar.
While Dhankar and Abhimanyu were Jat leaders, Sharma was a brahmin. “The party also got support from Dalits, Brahmins, Banias and Rajputs as well as non-jat OBCs like Ahirs , Gujjars and Sainis,’’ said a party leader.