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Amid leadership change talk, Khattar meets Modi

Khattar's close aides however said that he met the prime minister, who will turn 71 on Friday, to convey birthday greetings.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
September 17, 2021 11:50:47 am
Manohar Lal KhattarRegarding talks on Cabinet expansion, Khattar said, "I shall be discussing this issue with our state BJP president." (File Photo)

AMID SPECULATION that BJP was contemplating a change in leadership in Haryana, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the latter’s residence in New Delhi Thursday evening.

Khattar’s close aides however said that he met the prime minister, who will turn 71 on Friday, to convey birthday greetings.

“I extended birthday greetings to the prime minister. I had not met him for a long time. I briefed him about the new initiatives taken by us including Parivar Pehchan Patra, Meri Fasal Mera Byora, Auto-appeal software under Right to Service Commission etc. I also invited him to come to Haryana for the foundation laying ceremony of Railway Orbital Corridor that is coming up along the KMP Expressway at a cost of Rs 5,600 crore,” the CM said while interacting with mediapersons after meeting the prime minister.

Regarding talks on Cabinet expansion, Khattar said, “I shall be discussing this issue with our state BJP president.”

On the farmers’ agitation, the CM said, “He (Modi) asked me about the Karnal incident. I gave him the entire information. We also discussed the Supreme Court’s order to get the NH-44 free of blockades.”
In August, during a Jan Ashirwad rally of Union Cabinet Minister Bhupender Yadav, remarks made by the CM had fueled speculation of a possible leadership change in Haryana. Khattar, 67, had said, “People in the age group of 60-70 years would not be able to continue for long in leadership positions, and younger leaders, such as Yadav, should be at the forefront.”

“How long will the 60-70 year-old people continue? You are young.52 years is young,” he had said, hinting that Yadav could be given some important position in the state’s party unit.

Although Khattar’s remarks gave momentum to talks of a leadership change in Haryana, those close to him claimed that what the CM said was nothing “but a courteous remark towards a young leader”. “There is no leadership change happening in Haryana. The chief minister is as such very active and even after recovering from Covid, he has been continuously touring the state as he used to before,” one of Khattar’s aides told this newspaper.

Earlier on Thursday, Khattar reached the residence of Tarun Bhardwaj, an Army officer who had died in an avalanche in Siachen, at Bhondsi village in Gurugram district, to meet the bereaved family.
“Tarun has made a supreme sacrifice for the country and everyone is proud of his martyrdom,” he told them.

The chief minister also told the family that the Haryana government has already made a policy for martyrs, according to which their family will be given financial assistance and one member will get a job as per qualification.

Khattar also announced that the community centre of the village will be named after Tarun.

“Possibilities of upgrading the Bhondsi PHC to CHC, or a small hospital will be explored,” he said while meeting the family. He also announced that a road will be named after Tarun.

“The state government has given jobs to 279 people after identifying the families of martyrs. These include families of martyrs of the India-Pak war of 1971. According to the policy, financial assistance of Rs 50 lakh is given to the family and a job is given to a family member,” a state government spokesperson said.

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