A day after Manohar Lal Khattar took oath as the Chief Minister and Dushyant Chautala as his deputy, the BJP-JJP alliance in Haryana is yet to reach a consensus on the formation of the Cabinet even as the two parties may face another test in deciding a “common minimum programme” comprising the policy layout for the next five years.
The BJP, which fell short of the majority mark by six seats, on Friday sealed a deal with the Dushyant-led JJP to form the government. There are 40 BJP members, 10 of the JJP, 31 of Congress, one each of the INLD and the Haryana Lokhit Party, and seven independents in the 90-member Assembly.
The independents too have offered support to the BJP, making difficult its task of picking names for the council of ministers. The JJP and the BJP, sources said, were yet to reach consensus on some names.
“It is too early to say anything,” Dushyant said Monday on the status of expansion of the Cabinet.
“We will stick to our agenda, which is to give a clean and transparent regime,” Khattar told reporters in Karnal.
Five Cabinet ministers and one minister of state in the previous government led by Khattar lost in the elections and several new frontrunners for ministerial berths have emerged in the saffron party. They include six-time MLA Anil Vij, who was the only minister apart from Khattar to win the election, Kanwar Pal, Seema Trikha, Mahipal Dhanda, and Ganshyam Saraf. From JJP, Ram Kumar Gautam, Ishwar Singh and Anoop Dhanak are in the fray.
Tough innings for Khattar
With the victory of seven BJP rebels who were denied tickets, and 10 MLAs of a barely 11-month old party led by Dushyant Chautala, Manohar Lal Khattar is heading for a tough test in his second term. Not only do the BJP and JJP have ideological differences, they also have very different vote banks. While the Opposition has already started attacking the alliance, calling it a “marriage of convenience”, Khattar will now have to live upto his claim of being a “rajneeti ka khiladi” (seasoned player in politics).
Meanwhile, Dushyant said that a committee will be constituted “to draft a common minimum programme document as per which the JJP-BJP alliance will move forward in the larger interest of the people of Haryana”.
JJP will insist on including its three key promises — 75 per reservation in jobs to the state’s youths, raising old age pension to Rs 5,100 per month, and providing MSP to farmers — in the common minimum programme.
Dushyant hit out at Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who had been accusing the JJP of acting against the “mandate of the state”. “People have not forgotten how CLU (change-of-land-use) gangs used to be active during their (Congress’s) time, how 63,000 acres of farmers’ land was taken away for peanuts,” he said.
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