An RSS man, Manohar Lal Khattar toiled on the ground to build the organisation for last four decades till he was handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lead the first BJP government in Haryana.
The 60-year-old bachelor, known for his simple lifestyle and clean image, may be a first-time MLA but he has earned himself the reputation of a tough task master with a no-nonsense approach while working behind-the-scenes in key positions in BJP and is admired for organisational skills.
However, it is his proximity with Modi, who himself was a pracharak for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), that catapulted him to the Chief Minister’s post.
The man, whose parents worked as labourers and who once wanted to be a medico, has become the first Punjabi chief Minister of Haryana and the first non-Jat leader to occupy the post after 18 years.
Known for his political acumen, Khattar played the role of a master strategist and successfully led many electoral campaigns for his party, the latest being 2014 Parliamentary elections in Haryana as chairman of Election Campaign committee.
It was in 1996, when Khattar was actively working in Haryana, that he first began working with Modi, who was then in charge of the state. In 2002, Khattar was given alloted Jammu and Kashmir as the state’s election Incharge.
Notably, Prime Minister Modi started his election campaign for the 2014 Haryana assembly polls by addressing his first rally on October 4 at Karnal, the constituency from where Khattar recorded an emphatic win.
Coming from a humble agricultural background, his family arrived in Haryana from Pakistan post-partition.
They settled at Nindana, a village situated in Haryana’s Rohtak district. To survive, his father and grandfather took up odd jobs as labourers, finally saving enough to start a small shop. It was in Nindana that Khattar was born in 1954.