President Pranab Mukherjee Friday appointed Kaptan Singh Solanki as the Governor of Haryana. The term of present incumbent Jagannath Pahadia ends Saturday. Solanki’s term will start from the day he assumes charge.
A hard-core RSS man, Solanki, 75, has been drafted by the BJP-led government at the Centre for dealing with the post-poll scenario in Haryana. The state is due for Assembly elections in a couple of months.
The BJP, after having played a second-fiddle to Devi Lal, his son Om Prakash Chautala and Bansi Lal for decades, is bracing up to make a bid for grabbing power on its own in the state for the first time. The party hopes rest on its performance in the recent Lok Sabha polls. Contesting the elections in alliance with the Haryana Janhit Congress of Kuldeep Bishnoi, the BJP bagged seven of the eight seats it fought. Bishnoi, however, lost both the seats his party contested. The BJP nominees led in 52 of the 90 Assembly segments.
Right now, the party’s alliance with Bishnoi is on the rocks. Though the leaders of the two parties are no longer engaged in a war of words over Bishnoi’s disappointing performance in the Lok Sabha polls, it is doubtful if the alliance would continue unless Bishnoi gives up his claim over the chief ministership and half of the Assembly seats, as agreed upon by the two parties before the polls, and settles down for a reduced share.
The BJP inclination to go solo has dashed the hopes of the Chautala-clan for a return journey to power at a time when the family outfit Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) is passing through a bad phase in the wake of incarceration of Om Prakash Chautala and his son Ajay Chautala.
The Haryana BJP has some eight contenders for the chief ministership, none of them with a state-wide appeal.
Given its own inherent organisational deficiencies, the BJP may find it hard to repeat its Lok Sabha performance. The Congress led by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has the public mood set against itself. And, Chautalas lack a winning social combination. All this points at the prospect of a state of uncertainty after elections. It is then that the Governor would acquire an important role.
Solanki is not only rooted in the RSS, but is also well-versed in realpolitik, having been the Madhya Pradesh BJP general secretary (organisation) in 2003 when the party ousted Digvijaya Singh from power. Solanki is a tough man and his presence in Raj Bhavan would stand the BJP in good stead in times to come.