His authority in doubt in the aftermath of the Jat agitation, a distraught Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar broke down at a meeting of state BJP legislators at the Haryana Niwas here Monday.
Sources said Khattar, who belongs to the Punjabi community, broke down as the ruling party MLAs discussed the issues relating to alleged incidents of loot, arson, rape and violence in the state. He said it was a repeat of what all the Punjabi community had gone through in the wake of Partition. Though members of many communities came under attack, families of Punjabi settlers, who had immigrated from Pakistan, were particularly singled out by violent mobs.
Sources said the Chief Minister was not the only one who wept in the emotionally-charged atmosphere. Finance Minister Abhimanyu wept too. He was peeved over the fact that although his house in Rohtak had been burnt down, it was being insinuated that he was himself behind it. Nothing could be more painful than this, he said.
The meeting was attended by 52 MLAs — all 47 from BJP and the five Independents, who support the Khattar government. It lasted four-and-a-half hours. A total of 35 MLAs spoke. BJP general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal and general secretary in-charge of Haryana affairs Anil Jain were also present.
Minister of State for Co-operation Vikram Singh Thekedar, who represents the Kosli seat, sought to know why most portfolios had been assigned to Abhimanyu and Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankhar (both of them Jats). Abhimanyu holds a dozen-odd portfolios and Dhankhar half-a-dozen.
Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma complained that no one in the administration was bothered about ruling party MLAs. Even a patwari did not care about a recommendation of a BJP MLA.
Dinesh Kaushik, who represents Pundri, alleged that the police got his house burnt. Jasbir Deswal, an independent MLA from Safidon, was upset over a case registered against him in connection with the violence.
There was a widespread demand for an immediate removal of DGP Yashpal Singhal and ADGP (CID) Shatrujeet Singh Kapoor because of failure of the state machinery to control mob violence.