The first expansion of the Cabinet in Haryana will take place within the next two days, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala Tuesday said even as five of the seven Independent MLAs, who have extended support to the Manohar Lal Khattar-led government, held a meeting in Delhi.
“It will take place in the next 48 hours (by Thursday),” Chautala said in reply to a specific query on the cabinet expansion.
Earlier, the cabinet expansion was expected on Tuesday, but Maharashtra imbroglio was one of the factors that delayed the induction of ministers, sources said.
Asked whether two more MLAs from JJP will be inducted in the council of ministers, Chautala, who discussed the expansion with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar here, said, “This is an internal matter of our party.”
Asked if there had been any talk with the CM about the portfolios which the ministers from the Jannayak Janta Party camp will get, Chautala answered in the affirmative. On how many independent MLAs will be made ministers, he said the two coalition partners will decide this.
Meanwhile, five Independent MLAs — Sombir Sangwan, Nayan Pal Rawat, Balraj Kundu, Randhir Singh Gollen and Dharampal Gonder — held a meeting in Delhi.
All of them were earlier with the BJP but had turned rebels when the party did not give them tickets to contest the Assembly elections held last month. “We have won as independents, but we are pro-BJP,” Rawat said.
All seven Independent MLAs, including Ranjit Singh Chautala who was not present at the meet in Delhi, are supporting the present Khattar-led dispensation.
Sources said that Ranjeet Chautala, who is son of former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, is likley to be inducted in the Cabinet.
Rawat said Independent MLAs definitely aspire that some of them be accommodated in the Cabinet expansion, but there’s no greed for the berth or any portfolio. “Expansion of the cabinet is the prerogative of the chief minister,” he said while replying to a question.
Rawat also assured “full support” of the independents to the BJP-JJP combine in Haryana, saying “the government will run smoothly for five years”.
However, an independent MLA, requesting anonymity, admitted that they want “at least the posts of chairman of any board, if ministership is not offered to them”.
Another MLA said that they want development of their constituencies but added that their support to the BJP-JJP government is unconditional. “Today’s meeting in Delhi was not to take a call on future course of action but to discuss the current political scenario,” he added.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said that 20 days have passed after the declaration of election results, “but the BJP-JJP are only busy in fighting to secure maximum number of ministerial portfolios and share of the booty”.
In a statement, Surjewala said that the people are suffering due to maladministration but the BJP-JJP have no concern for their sufferings. “The portfolios have not been distributed so far, so even the routine public works are stuck up with officers for lack of clarity on responsibilities. This has resulted into total collapse of governance structure as the officials are also not taking any interest in their day to day work in this period of great uncertainty. The BJP-JJP government has got 60 months but they have already wasted one month in this convolution for ministerial portfolios,” said Surjewala.
Surjewala alleged that the law and order in the state has completely broken down and the daily news of so many murders, kidnappings and heinous crimes are tarnishing the image of the state. “There is no headship or responsibility in the departments of the state government, in such a situation the governance stands paralysed. The two so-called leaders are only engaged in serving their political interests but they do not seem to worry about the state and its people,” he added.
Khattar (65) took oath as the chief minister for the second time on October 27 and Chautala (31), great grandson of former deputy prime minister, late Devi Lal, was sworn-in as his deputy as the BJP formed the government with the help of the JJP in Haryana.
The BJP had sealed a deal with the Chautala-led JJP to form the government in Haryana after the saffron party fell short of six seats from the majority mark in the assembly election.