The Bharatiya Janata Party and Dushyant Chautala’s Jananayak Janta Party will form the government in Haryana, Union home minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah said on Friday after hours of back and forth between the two parties.
“We accept the mandate of the people of Haryana. Leaders of the BJP and the JJP have decided that both the parties will form a government in Haryana together. The chief minister will be from the BJP and the deputy chief minister from the JJP,” Amit Shah said while speaking to reporters.
The Union home minister said the other contours of the government formation will be worked out on Saturday.
The announcement came after Amit Shah met with Dushyant Chautala and other leaders at his residence in the Capital after flying down from Gujarat’s Gandhinagar. Shah did not take questions from reporters but Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Dushyant Chautala talked about giving a stable government to the people of Haryana.
“We will meet the governor tomorrow in Chandigarh to stake the claim to form the government in the state,” Khattar said.
The BJP had secured 40 seats in the 90-member assembly, down from 47 in 2014. The Congress, led by former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, came in second with 31 seats, up from the 15 seats it held in the previous assembly. Dushyant Chautala’s JJP got 10 assembly seats.
The BJP secured the support of seven lawmakers to cross the majority mark – five Independent MLAs, Haryana Lokhit Party Gopal Kanda and Indian National Lok Dal’s Abhay Chautala – rather than rely on Jannayak Janta Party’s Dushyant Chautala who was aspiring to be Haryana’s kingmaker.
Dushyant Chautala kept both the parties guessing about his support and responded to feelers from the two parties with the message that he would go with the party that offers him the chief minister’s post. He also talked about a common minimum programme.
The BJP moved swiftly to pre-empt any muscle-flexing by the JJP or it going with the Congress. It was already talking to the Independent MLAs and leaders of other smaller parties such as Gopal Kanda and Abhay Chautala to reach the magic figure of 46. Once it secured their support, it ended the BJP’s dependence on Dushyant Chautala.
However, voices including that of senior leader Uma Bharti emerged against her party courting Haryana leader Gopal Kanda’s support to ensure that Manohar Lal Khattar.
Gopal Kanda was a minister in the Bhupinder Singh Hooda cabinet back in 2012 when he was accused of abetting suicide of an air hostess who worked in MDLR airlines that he had launched. The airline had stopped operations three years earlier. Later the woman’s mother also committed suicide.
Now, all that put to rest and the BJP’s legislators will meet formally on Saturday to elect Khattar as its leader under the close watch of a central team including finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Soon after, Khattar is expected to head to Raj Bhavan to stake a claim and pick up his invite to form the government.
Dushyant Chautala, who had been ambivalent about his party’s stand on supporting the BJP or the Congress, had insisted earlier on Friday that he was still open to supporting either the BJP or Congress.
The only condition, he had declared, was that the new government would have to deliver on his party’s agenda. He made particular mention of two: a promise to reserve 75% of jobs in Haryana for local youth and a substantial hike in various kinds of pensions given by the government.
“No one is untouchable for us. We will support whichever party agrees to implement our agenda as part of a common minimum programme,” he had said.
A JJP leader later told HT that this was mostly positioning and the demand for implementing the party’s agenda was a message to the BJP, and in some ways, to prep for the change in the stand.
Dushyant Chautala was asked if he was a little late to make his offer since the BJP was expected to cross the majority mark with help from the Independents.
“I still have the key if you want a stable government in Haryana,” Chautala had shot back.
Oct 25, 2019 21:28 IST