How Khat­tar be­came Haryana’s ‘fourth Lal’

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - Man­vir.Saini

Chandigarh: Manohar Lal Khat­tar, a Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh pracharak, was a sur­prise choice as the Haryana chief min­is­ter when the BJP won the 2014 assem­bly polls in the state.

Writ­ten off by politi­cians then, Khat­tar has had the last laugh. Those who pre­dicted that he would not even his com­plete his term have been si­lenced. Khat­tar has been work­ing at the grass­roots level since 1993 and been en­gaged with ac­tive pol­i­tics in the state since 2000.

He con­sol­i­dated his po­si­tion first with the BJP’s sweep in the may­oral elec­tions in parts of the state, fol­lowed by the Jind by­poll vic­tory. The party’s clean sweep of all the 10 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 elec­tions fur­ther ce­mented his po­si­tion.

The state’s first Pun­jabis­peak­ing chief min­is­ter man­aged to earn the good­will of vot­ers by promis­ing to end cor­rup­tion, es­pe­cially in re­cruit­ment for gov­ern­ment jobs, up­grad­ing in­fra­struc­ture and im­ple


Sat­lok Ashram clash: Six peo­ple were killed and hun­dreds in­jured when po­lice had to use force to ar­rest self-styled god­man, Ram­pal, fol­low­ing a high court or­der. It was the first chal­lenge the Khat­tar gov­ern­ment en­coun­tered months af­ter com­ing to power

Beef polic­ing: A huge con­tro­versy arose af­ter po­lice filed an FIR against ven­dors sell­ing beef biryani and col­lected food sam­ples in Me­wat in 2017. At one point, Khat­tar said those who want to have beef can choose to leave Haryana and terms have been coined by those in­dulging in caste pol­i­tics,” said Awasthi.

Pol­i­tics in Haryana has re­volved around three Lals — INLD founder Devi Lal, Congress party’s Bansi Lal and Bha­jan Lal — and the re­sults of the assem­bly elec­tions will de­cide if chief min­is­ter Khat­tar has been ac­cepted by the peo­ple as the ‘fourth Lal’ of Haryana.

Bha­jan Lal, who broke away from Congress to set up Haryana Jan­hit Congress, was a prom­i­nent non­Jat chief min­is­ter. The man, iden­ti­fied as Chanakya of Haryana pol­i­tics and mas­ter of horse trad­ing and orig­i­na­tor of the Aya Ram Gaya Ram pol­i­tics in the state, had man­aged to break the hege­mony of the Jat lead­ers in the state at the time.

His op­po­nents are not ready to con­cede his po­si­tion as a cred­i­ble non-Jat leader yet. Ravin­der Rawal, a Pun­jabi leader from Congress and Bha­jan Lal loy­al­ist said, “Chaud­hary Bha­jan Lal was a mass leader. Both Bha­jan Lal and CM Khat­tar have their own iden­ti­ties and should not be com­pared,” he said.

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