Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah Friday blew the poll bugle in Haryana as he urged the state to give the party 75 plus seats in the ensuing Assembly elections so that Manohar Lal Khattar once again forms the government.
Assembly polls are due in Haryana in October. The BJP, in the 2014 elections, had won 47 seats in the 90-member House.
“Earlier, Haryana was known for shady land deals. Selection to government jobs had turned into a business. But Khattar eliminated it. In one term, he turned corruption into ‘bhoot kaal’ (past tense),” Shah said.
“Khattar ended casteism. Earlier, jobs were given on the basis of caste. Development should not be undertaken on the basis of caste. Money used to be exchanged for transfers,” Shah said, adding that a computerised mechanism for transferring government employees in state is now in place.
Shah said under Khattar, Haryana has become a kerosene-free state.
Stating that “the people of Haryana were instrumental” in helping BJP cross the mark of 300 seats in this year’s Lok Sabha polls , Shah predicted a two-thirds victory for the party in the Assembly polls. “I know the ‘veer bhoomi’ (land of the bravehearts) will bless both Modi ji and Khattar.”
The Union Home Minister also said that “good people” are welcome into the party-fold. He was addressing a rally in Jind, considered as heartland of Haryana’s politics.
Shah recalled his earlier visit to Haryana’s Jat heartland when Congress stalwart Birender Singh switched sides to the BJP ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
“I had come here for the induction of Chaudhary sahib,” he said, adding that the manner in which the leader fitted into his new party had “disturbed” many Congressmen. “I want to tell them don’t get disturbed. Good people who join the BJP are welcomed and respected,” he added.
Friday’s ‘Aastha’ rally was organised by Birender Singh, a prominent Jat leader who had joined the BJP on August 16,
2014 after ending his over four-decade association with the Congress.
The former rural development and panchayati raj and steel minister in the first term of the Modi government is a grandson of peasant leader Sir Chhotu Ram. His wife Prem Lata is the BJP MLA from Uchana Kalan Assembly constituency and son Brijendra Singh, a former IAS officer, is the Lok Sabha MP from Hisar.
In the past few months in Haryana, several opposition MLAs from the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) have announced support for the ruling party.
Shah also lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi on scrapping of the special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 within 75 days of coming to power in its second term, while the previous Congress-led governments could not do so in “72 years”. He blamed this on that party’s “vote-bank greed”.
“Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A is a big milestone for the unity and integrity of India and now there is no impediment,” he said in his first public meeting after the government move.
“From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, ‘Maa Bharti’ today is rejoicing that Modi has removed Article 370. We had been saying that Kashmir is an integral part of India, but Article 370 was giving some sort of message that something is still unfinished,” he said, describing its undoing as the “biggest work” done by the Modi government in its second term so far.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day announcement on creating the post of Chief of Defence Staff will strengthen the country’s defence manifold. The home minister also slammed the previous governments for not creating the post, recommended after the 1999 Kargil War.
“Governments came and went but never took a decision on it,” he said, adding that the CDS will ensure synergy between the three armed forces- Army, Navy and Air Force. “I feel that because of this, our defence capability will strengthen manifold,” he said.
Haryana shifts into poll mode
With Amit Shah’s Friday rally, Haryana has officially shifted into the poll mode. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar will launch his rath yatra from Sunday. The same day, his predecessor and political opponent Bhupinder Singh Hooda has planned a mega rally in his stronghold Rohtak. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also likely to address a rally at Rohtak on September 8 when Khattar will conclude his rath yatra.