Like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Haryana’s chief minister-designate Manohar Lal Khattar also has a Chandigarh connection. From 2007 to 2010, he was BJP’s organisation secretary for the region, including Chandigarh.
During his tenure, the city BJP witnessed a change of leadership after a long time.
Before Khattar arrived on the scene, senior party leader Satya Pal Jain’s group dominated the party. Later, Sanjay Tandon was brought in as general secretary and subsequently elevated as president.
Due to the change in equations, there was much infighting in the party which led to its defeat in the Lok Sabha election in 2009.
Talking about Khattar, Tandon said, “He is a very simple person and shared
cordial relations with the party workers. We used to go out together for having gol-gappas and watching films. He used to stay at the Punjab BJP office in Sector 37 when in the city.”
Tandon shares a close relationship with Khattar.
Soon after he was named chief-minister desginate on Tuesday, Khattar visited Tandon’s house.
A section in the BJP believes that Khattar brought transparency in the organisational elections, ended the domination of one group and introduced greater democracy. Another section, however, says that fissures in the party increased when he was the organisation secretary.
Recalling his association with Khattar, Satya Pal Jain said that he was actively involved in the planning for the elections of the local municipal corporation which were held in 2011. He had the ability to settle serious disputes, lived simply and was very mobile, said Jain.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in charge of the Chandigarh unit of the BJP from 1996 to 1999. During this time, the newly elected BJP MLA from Panchkula Gian Chand Gupta was the Mayor of Chandigarh.