Manohar Lal Khattar was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Haryana for the second consecutive term and JJP leader Dushyant Chautala took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister at the Raj Bhavan on Sunday.
No other minister was sworn in on Sunday, apparently after new allies BJP and JJP failed to reach a consensus on MLAs to be included into the council of ministers. Initially, at least four MLAs — Anil Vij and Kanwarpal Gujjar from the BJP and Ishwar Singh and Ram Kumar Gautam from the JJP — were expected to be sworn-in as Cabinet ministers, but that did not happen eventually. Four vehicles meant for the Cabinet ministers that were brought to the Raj Bhavan were taken back at the last minute.
BJP sources told The Indian Express that there was a disagreement on the names of a few MLAs who shall be sworn in as ministers. So, nobody else was sworn in on Friday and names of those who are going to be included in the Cabinet were not disclosed. The names are now expected to be finalised next week.
Dushyant’s father Ajay Chautala, who is serving 10 years of rigorous imprisonment after conviction in the JBT teachers recruitment case, was also present at the swearing-in ceremony.
After being released from Tihar jail on Sunday morning on a 14-day furlough, Ajay reached the Raj Bhavan with wife and Badhra legislator Naina Chautala and son Digvijay.
“It is the due to our party workers that we have reached here today. The alliance of the BJP and the JJP will do fantastic work and continue for the entire five-year tenure,” he said.
Dushyant’s brother Digvijay said, “The BJP and JJP’s alliance will work for the benefit of the state. Congress is unnecessarily trying to make this alliance an issue by saying that people’s mandate was against BJP and we should not have entered into the alliance. The fact is that people’s mandate was against Congress too. Bhupinder Singh Hooda had a misconception that we will go with him. How can we ally with Hooda who hatched a conspiracy to send my father and grandfather to jail?”
The BJP and JJP on Friday night announced an alliance after none of the parties managed to cross the majority mark in the recently held Assembly polls. While the BJP won 40 seats, the Congress won 31 seats and the JJP finished with 10 seats in the 90-member Assembly.
Around a 1,000 guests, including newly elected MLAs and Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand Chief Ministers Jai Ram Thakur and Trivendra Singh Rawat attended the swearing-in ceremony.
Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal too attended the swearing-in ceremony. Sukhbir reached the venue, walked straight to Ajay Chautala and hugged him tight. The Chautala and Badal families have decade-old ties. Both Khattar and Dushyant touched Parkash Singh Badal’s feet on the stage.
After the ceremony, Congress leader and former Haryana Chief Minister said, “I hope this alliance works, but we shall see how they carry on because of the contradictions they have. For JJP, all I cay say is Vote kisi ko aur support kisi ko. What JJP has done is against the mandate of Haryana. It is just an alliance of convenience.”
Speaking about the Congress’ performance in the Assembly polls, he said, “Had the party high command implemented the change in the state unit earlier, the results would have definitely been different.”
Naina Chautala, Dushyant’s mother, however said, “The alliance will function and people will see it.”