CHANDIGARH: The BJP will stake claim to form the government in Haryana with the support of seven independent MLAs and the lone legislator of the Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) after getting a fractured mandate resulting in a hung assembly.
Sources said that Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar met BJP executive president JP Nadda at his residence in New Delhi on Friday. Six of the seven Independent MLAs were also there and extended their support.
It is learnt that the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) may join the BJP government and form an alliance in Haryana. The party wants the Deputy Chief Minister post for Dushyant Chautala and two cabinet berths.
Chautala remains non-committal and is likely to meet BJP president Amit Shah soon. He said if his party's support was taken, they would be part of the government and not just back it from outside. "The executive has authorised me to talk to any party based on a Common Minimum Programme and then we will take a decision on supporting that party. As per CMP, we are seeking 75 per cent jobs to Haryanvi youth and increasing old age pensions besides other steps," he said.
One independent MLA and the only legislator of the Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) were taken to Delhi by the BJP Sirsa MP Sunita Duggal in a chartered plane on Thursday night, said sources. The HLP’s Gopal Kanda won from Sirsa and the Independent candidate Ranjeet Singh, the brother of former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, won the Rania seat after the Congress denied him the ticket.
Both Kanda and Singh said that they will support the party which works for the development of the state. "All Independent MLAs have decided to give their unconditional support to the BJP without any condition. My family has been with the RSS since long. Under PM Narendra Modi's leadership, Haryana will see development," said Kanda.
The six other independents are Balraj Kundu from Meham, Nayan Pal Rawat from Prithla, Dharampal Gonder from Nilokheri, Randhir Singh Gollan from Pundri, Sombir Sangwan from Dadri and Rakesh Daultabad from Badshahpur. Most of them have asked for cabinet berths but publicly say that they have given unconditionally support.
Rawat, an independent MLA from Prithla constituency, said, "We have extended our support to the BJP government in Haryana."
These legislators have played a key role for the BJP reaching the magic figure of 46 in the 90-member state assembly after it fell six short of the halfway mark.
Meanwhile, the Congress accused the saffron party of using allurements of money and power to get a majority and said a government formed through such means would be illegitimate. "The BJP has been decisively rejected. They said they will get a 75-seat mandate but have not even touched the majority mark,’’ said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.
"The BJP has no right to form a government. Defections are coming to play with allurements of money and power and of positions in government being the sole criteria for forming a government in Haryana," he said.
BJP national general secretary and Haryana in-charge Anil Jain said the meeting of the Haryana BJP Legislature Party will be held on Saturday to elect a leader. After the election of the BJP Legislature Party leader, the party will stake claim for formation of the next government. Finance Minister Nirmala
Sitharaman and BJP general secretary Arun Singh will attend the meeting as observers. Khattar is likely to meet the governor on Saturday to stake claim, while the oath-taking ceremony is expected to be held after Diwali.
The Congress won 31 seats, Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) 10, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) one each, and seven are Independents. The INLD, which has one MLA, may also back the government.