BJP Clinches Haryana Alliance with JJP, Cedes Deputy CM Post to Dushyant Chautala’s Party
Manohar Lal Khattar is likely to be elected the BJP legislative party leader at a meeting in Chandigarh on Saturday and will then stake claim before the Governor to form the government. Chautala is likely to be his deputy.
Home Minister Amit Shah with BJP Working President JP Nadda, Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar and JJP leader Dushyant Chautala in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)
New Delhi: The BJP on Friday clinched an alliance with Dushyant Chautala’s Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), which has won 10 seats in the 90-member Haryana Assembly, by offering it the post of deputy chief minister.
BJP president Amit Shah made the announcement at a press conference held at his residence after meeting Chautala. He said while the chief minister will be from the BJP, the deputy chief minister will be from the regional party.
“Going by the mandate of the voters of Haryana, leaders of both parties have decided that the BJP and the JJP will form the government together. The chief minister will be from the BJP and the deputy chief minister from the JJP,” said Shah at the press briefing where he was joined by Chautala, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and BJP leader Anurag Thakur.
Khattar is likely to be elected the BJP legislative party leader at a meeting in Chandigarh on Saturday and will then stake claim before the Governor to form the government. Chautala is likely to be his deputy.
Chautala said that his party believed the alliance was necessary to ensure stability in Haryana.
Khattar said both the parties had worked together in the past.
Sources said Shah had spoken to Chautala even before the results were out, following inputs that the BJP might not get a majority on its own.
The meeting between Shah and Chautala came after the latter earlier on Friday asserted that neither the BJP nor the Congress is untouchable for him and that he will support any outfit that agrees with his organisation's common minimum programme.
Reacting to the development, the opposition Congress described the JJP as the "B-team" of the BJP.
"When the BJP wants to gain power by dividing the society, sometimes Raj Kumar Saini and sometimes the JJP-Lok Dal will stand as a puppet," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a tweet in Hindi. The public has now come to know the reality, he added.
Chautala emerged as the “kingmaker” after Haryana threw up a hung Assembly. “We will support any party in Haryana that accepts our common minimum programme,” he earlier said. The JJP had promised to reserve 75% of the jobs in the state for the local youth, which constitute a sizeable chunk of nearly 1.83 crore voters of the state, as well as schemes related to senior pension.
Top BJP leaders moved swiftly since Thursday night to cobble together a majority in the 90-member Haryana Assembly after the party's tally fell to 40 in the state, six short of the majority mark. Seven independent MLAs also pledged their support to the party. A majority of the independent MLAs are BJP rebels and several of them gave their letters of support to Khattar during a meeting at the residence of the party's working president, JP Nadda, in Delhi.
The BJP's decision to win over Chautala underlines its quest to placate Jats, a dominant community in the state and who are believed to have voted mostly against the saffron party in the recent polls, to ensure a smooth run of its government.
It will also ensure that the BJP will not have to depend on Independent MLAs for its government's survival – the party has been severely criticised after Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) leader Gopal Kanda announced his support for it. Kanda, a former minister and an influential politician in Haryana who won by a slender margin of 602 votes from Sirsa, hit the headlines in 2012 when an air hostess with his airline company killed herself and left a suicide note accusing him of harassment. Kanda was arrested on charges of abetment to suicide, criminal conspiracy and criminal intimidation. Within a few months, the woman’s mother also killed herself, blaming her suicide on Kanda. In March 2014, Kanda was granted bail and unsuccessfully fought the Lok Sabha elections.
Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti appealed to her party not to forget its moral goals, a suggestion that it should not be seeking Kanda's support for forming government.
Apparently on the defensive, senior BJP leaders ensured that they were not seen with Kanda even as other Independent MLAs were seen moving in and out of Nadda's residence after announcing their support to the saffron party.
BJP's Haryana in-charge Anil Jain said the party's top brass would take a call on Kanda's support.
BJP leaders are also confident of lone Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MLA Abhay Chautala's support to its government. Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman and BJP general secretary Arun Singh will attend Saturday's legislative party meeting as central observers, Jain said.
(With inputs from PTI)
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