After Delhi rout, BJP faces fresh trouble next door

After Delhi rout, BJP faces fresh trouble next door

Haryana CM under siege from Health & Sports Minister Anil Vij, who tweets away about obstacles, skipped functions and an ‘interested CM’.

Vij’s Tweets so far were against unnamed people; he has gone direct against Khattar after the CM kept him out of a function under his department.
Vij’s Tweets so far were against unnamed people; he has gone direct against Khattar after the CM kept him out of a function under his department.

Thank You Chief Minister,” Haryana minister Anil Vij tweeted in his first direct reference to Manohar Lal Khattar in an ongoing online attack, “For Taking Keen Interest Into My Departments. I am Relaxed.”

So far, the target of his tweets, though obvious, had never been specified. What apparently proved the last straw was when Khattar, in the absence of his Minister for Health and Sports, launched a statewide campaign, “Khelega Haryana, Badhega Haryana”, at Moti Lal Nehru Sports School in Sonepat. Khattar also ran a symbolic marathon organised by Vij’s sports department.

Vij tweeted his “gratitude” from Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. This was after the ice had looked like breaking: Khattar had dinner at Vij’s home last week and BJP sources say the CM tried to placate him.

The stage for the battle, whose peaking coincides with the BJP’s rout in Delhi, was probably set the moment the party chose RSS-backed Khattar for CM rather than Vij, the most senior BJP leader in Haryana with six consecutive wins from Ambala Cantonment, a leader who had headed the BJP legislature party in the previous assembly.

It became public after Khattar overruled Vij in a decision involving Health, his other department. Kurukshetra chief medical officer Vandana Bhatia upset minister Krishan Bedi by not taking his calls, Bhatia responded by recording his voice and accusing him of bullying, and Vij stood by Bedi and recommended the doctor’s transfer. The chief minister ignored the recommendation.


The tweets followed, one after the other. When Khattar’s government publicised its achievements after completing 100 days, Vij tweeted, “Kuch log mujhe mere kaam karne ke tarike se rokna chahte hain, parantu we kabhi kaamyab nahin honge. Main apne tarike se kaam karta rahunga.” He did not identify the “certain people” whom he was accusing of not letting him work in his “own style”. He told The Indian Express then, “They were busy listing their achievements of 100 days. I took it as an opportunity to study the 100 days and wrote what I thought best. My tweet came following a thorough study of the 100 days of the government.”

Khattar too dismissed the tweet then, stressing there were no differences in his cabinet. “The minister is doing his work,” he said.

But Vij went on to skip a crafts mela in Surajpur, where the CM had invited all his ministers, and tweeted that he couldn’t attend functions because he wanted to focus on working.

Now that he is made it obvious whom he is upset with, will he take it up with the party leadership? “I am capable of tackling this myself,” he says.

BJP sources, however, say it is Khattar who is in control, given that he has the confidence of the leadership as well as the RSS. Khattar is the first BJP chief minister Haryana has had since it became a state in 1966. “It is too early for anyone to create problems for him. Ministers should give him time,” says a senior BJP leader.

The Twitter barrage, nevertheless, has amused the opposition. Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav said recently that this government has exposed frictions within a little too early.

Khattar’s predecessor Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress says, “The government is run by a bunch of inexperienced leaders. They are new to power and have been exposed much sooner that expected.”

And Congress veteran Captain Ajay Singh Yadav, himself a former minister who often differed with Hooda, has taken to Twitter to discuss Vij. “I congratulate Anil Vij for his fight against centralisation of power by chief minister. I also faced similar situation under the Hooda regime,” he said.

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