'Jat or not' dilemma in CM choice

'Jat or not' dilemma in CM choice

Harya-na is all set to have a chief minister from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the first time since the state’s formation in 1966 .

Party leaders in the race to be chief minister are being particular in communicating with the BJP central leadership, which must take a crucial decision on whether or not to give the coveted post to a Jat. Accounting for 25 per cent of the population, the Jats are a majority community in Haryana and have seen its members become chief ministers in the last four governments.

The strong contenders for the chief minister’s post are BJP legislators Capt Abhimanyu and Om Prakash Dhankar, RSS-backed leader Manohar Lal Khattar and party president of the state unit Ram Bilas Sharma. If the party decides not to appoint an MLA who won this election, BJP parliamentarians Krishan Pal Gujjar and Roa Inderjit Singh also stand a chance to assume office as chief minister.

Most of the BJP state leaders, however, have lack of administrative experience     o their disadvantage. Capt Abhimanyu is a Jat who lost in the last three elections he contested, but won the appreciation of BJP national president Amit Shah.

When Shah was campaigning in the run up to the Assembly elections, he said Capt Abhimanyu would “play a bigger role” as a leader in Haryana. Dhankar is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Meanwhile, Khattar made his electoral debut this time and has little experience at the government-level. Sharma, BJP’s Haryana unit president, is a Brahmin who has the edge over the other contenders in terms of experience, as he served in former chief minister Devi Lal’s cabinet around 20 years ago.

He has broken an 18-year jinx of not being able to win the parliamentary or Assembly elections by getting a seat this time.As far as MP contenders are concerned, the BJP could pick chief ministerial aspirant Roa Inderjit Singh, a Congress defector who joined the BJP ahead of this year’s Lok Sabha elections.

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