Chandigarh: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday chose Karnal MLA Manohar Lal Khattar as the new Chief Minister of Haryana. This is after 15 years that the state has a non-Jat Chief Minister after having Jat Chief Ministers for three terms consecutively. Khattar will be sworn in as the CM on October 26.
The decision to elect Khattar was taken after a meeting of the BJP MLAs and poll observers including senior leader Venkakiah Naidu in Chandigarh. "It was a unanimous decision, we are going to the Governor, will put forth our claim to form government," Khattar said.
Soon after being elected as the CM, Khattar tweeted, "Have been elected to be the leader of legislature and next Chief Minister of Haryana. Heartfelt thanks to everyone for their constant support! Let us open a new chapter that focuses on good governance and development for all for a prosperous and progressive Haryana. Jai Hind!"
Khattar was an RSS worker from 1980 to 1994 and then joined the BJP. Sources say he is a close aide of PM Narendra Modi. Riding on the Modi wave, Khattar, a bachelor above the age of 60, was confident of winning the Karnal seat and he did by a huge margin.
Captain Abhimanyu, the Jat face of the BJP in Haryana, too was in the race and the argument in his favour seemed to be just that a non-Jat CM in Haryana may not be good for BJP's prospects in adjoining states like Delhi, Rajasthan and UP. But with only 9 out of 27 BJP Jat candidates making it to the Vidhan Sabha, it was difficult for the BJP to ignore the massive non-Jat mobilisation in its favour.
Even as the Congress had targeted Khattar, calling him an 'outsider' in Karnal, Khattar was confident of winning. The people of Karnal expressed confidence in Khattar and made voted for him in large numbers, making him one of the frontrunners for being the Haryana Chief Minister.