Tough task awaits new chief minister

Tough task awaits new chief minister

Many a challenge awaits new Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who assumed office on Sunday. This first-time MLA lacks administrative experience. 

The powerful state bureaucracy in Haryana had a say in decision making in the last 10 years of the regime of former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Khattar’s challenge will be to ensure that the bureaucracy’s hold on the administration is limited .   

Khattar is the first non-Jat chief minister, after four successive governments, in a state where Jats have been dominating the political scene since long. Experts say that the new Bharatiya Janata Party leadership will have to see that the government takes into confidence Jats and non-Jats.

This can happen only if Khattar ensures unbiased and a non-partisan development pattern in the state, beyond just Rohtak, as practised by the outgoing Hooda regime. 

The BJP’s disposition in Haryana as a party that has drawn its strength on vote shares and seats largely on the basis of non-Jat votes may not help the organisation in the long run. It may even incur the wrath of the Jats. 

The BJP government’s criticism of the controversial land deals involving Robert Vadra and Khattar’s resolve to check corruption might have helped the party win the Assembly elections.  

Fulfilling BJP’s manifesto and also the promises made by the outgoing Hooda government just before the elections will impose a huge burden on the state exchequer.

It is estimated that the government will need Rs 2,500 crore to meet populist decisions, like raising old age pension to Rs 2,000, providing foodgrain at Re 1 per kg, laptops for meritorious students and stipend for students and unemployed youth. All this will need additional resource mobilisation in a state which is reeling under a debt of over Rs 60,000 crore.

Several BJP’s new leaders are from the Congress. Many of them may seek their participation in the government. But Khattar, known as a tough  task master who has worked at the grassroots, may overcome all challenges.

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