Khattar quits, Nayab Saini new Haryana CM
   Date :13-Mar-2024

Khattar quits
 Haryana BJP President and OBC leader Nayab Singh Saini (C) being greeted by senior party leaders Arjun Munda (2nd L), Biplab Kumar Deb (R), former CM Manohar Lal Khattar (L) and others after he was chosen as the next Chief Minister in Chandigarh, on Tuesday. (PTI)
HARYANA BJP chief Nayab Singh Saini was on Tuesday sworn in as State’s new Chief Minister, hours after the surprise resignation of Manohar Lal Khattar from the post along with his Cabinet ministers. Five MLAs -- four from the BJP and one independent -- were also sworn in as ministers. However, former Home Minister and six-term MLA from Ambala Cantt, Anil Vij, has not found a place in the new Cabinet. Saini, the 54-year-old OBC leader, was administered oath by Governor Bandaru Dattatreya at the oath-taking ceremony held at the Raj Bhawan here. BJP’s Kanwar Pal, Mool Chand Sharma, Jai Prakash Dalal and Banwari Lal and Independent MLA Ranjit Singh Chautala took oath as ministers. All the five were ministers in the outgoing Khattar cabinet. Besides Vij, BJP legislators Kamal Gupta, Om Prakash Yadav, Kamlesh Dhanda, and Sandeep Singh did not find their names in the Saini-led Cabinet. Dushyant Chautala, Davinder Babli and Anoop Dhanak of JJP were other ministers in the Khattar cabinet.
Vij, who is learnt to be sulking, was not present at the oath-taking ceremony. After the party meeting here, he headed straight to his Ambala residence. The development to bring in a new face as Chief Minister by the BJP came just weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Khattar’s second term as chief minister was also to end in October, when the assembly polls are due. Earlier in the day, Khattar and all 13 other members of the BJP-led council of ministers submitted their resignations to the Governor as a team of the party’s central observers arrived in Chandigarh. The switch in Haryana came amid the ruling BJP-JJP coalition coming apart, though party leaders from both sides did not make immediate comment. JJP leader Dushyant Chautala was the deputy Chief Minister and there were two other members of his party in the Khattar-led government.
Four JJP MLAs -- Jogi Ram Sihag, Ishwar Singh, Davinder Babli, and Ram Niwas Surjakhera -- were also present at the oath-taking function. Saini, who is the MP from Kurukshetra, was appointed chief of state BJP in October last year. Speaking to reporters after taking oath, Saini said the BJP will win all the 10 Lok Sabha seats from the state with a big mandate. He also said that the party will again form the government when the assembly polls are held in the state. On being picked up as chief minister, Saini said that the party has given “such respect to an ordinary worker”. Speaking to reporters, Khattar said he has known Saini since a long time and he is happy that a youth face has taken oath as CM and has been entrusted with new responsibility. Earlier, Haryana governor accepted the resignations of Khattar and his council of ministers, according to a notification. Among the MLAs who took oath, two of them -- J P Dalal (Loharu segment) and Ranjit Chautala (Rania) -- come from the Jat community while Mool Chand Sharma (Ballabhgarh) is a Brahmin face, Kanwar Pal (Jagadhri) comes from Gujjar community and Banwari Lal (Bawal) from the SC community. Saini was a minister in the first Khattar cabinet.
He was an MLA when he fought the Lok Sabha polls in 2019. There are speculations that Khattar may be fielded as the party’s Lok Sabha candidate from Karnal. At present, the BJP has 41 MLAs in the 90-member assembly while the JJP has 10. The BJP is comfortably placed even without the JJP’s support as the Khattar government enjoyed the support of six of the seven independents. The main opposition Congress has 30 MLAs while the Indian National Lok Dal and Haryana Lokhit Party one seat each. The JJP too called a meeting in Delhi of its leaders following the surprise development. Five of its Haryana MLAs are learnt to have skipped the meeting, indicating a possible rift in the ranks. In a post on X, Saini thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president J P Nadda, party’s Haryana in-charge Biplab Dev, Khattar and the party MLAs. Earlier, emerging from the BJP meeting at Haryana Niwas, Vij parried questions from reporters on what transpired inside. “Those who have come from Delhi will tell,” he said.