A day after counting for assembly polls in Haryana on Thursday threw up a hung verdict, the scene of activities shifted to Delhi with leaders from both sides making all efforts to have a shot at power in the Jatland.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who got BJP’s Parliamentary party’s not yesterday for another term arrived in the national capital and after having a brief meeting with five independents (some of them BJP rebels) in Haryana Bhavan drove to the residence of BJP Working President J P Nadda, where he also met the BJP general secretary in-charge of Haryana Anil Jain. Jain had last evening met BJP chief and Home Minister Amit Shah, who was authorized by the BJP Parliamentary Board on Thursday to work out the government formation of the BJP in two states.
Sources in BJP suggested that Khattar has already enlisted the support of all eight MLAs and hence crossed the majority mark of 46 in the 90-member House. If all eight independent MLA support the BJP which already has 40 MLAs in its kitty, Khattar will have the backing of 48 MLAs, two more than what is required.
While the three top leaders were huddled into a meeting with some of the independents, Jannayak Janata Party leader Dushywant Chautala had a meeting with his ten MLAs in the national capital to chalk out the next course of action. JJP, which earlier appeared in the role of kingmaker, lost out in a position of prime as the BJP moved fast to enlist the support of all independents. Chautala, who has indicated he is not quite keen to extend support to the BJP, will spell out his stand at a press conference at 4 PM in the evening.
Meanwhile as political maneuverings from both sides have begun, controversial MLA from Sirsa Gopal Kanda, who played a key role in enlisting independents’ support for the BJP said that the independents have played their role and they are supporting the politics of development of Narendra Modi as they feel Haryana should also progress in the same manner as the rest of the nation is doing.
Kanda against whom the BJP had in past held massive agitations after his name surfaced in Geetika Sharma suicide case in past, said his family was associated with RSS since 1926 as his father was an RSS man.
“We are part of a family. We have extended support to BJP. All independent MLAs met the BJP top leadership and gave their support to the BJP to form the government,” Kanda said insisting that all MLAs have given unconditional support to the BJP and nobody has talked about portfolios. He also ruled any pressure by the BJP for supporting it in government formation saying “BJP does not carry out the politics of pressure.”
He recalled that even when the BJP had just four MLAs, he had not supported Om Prakash Chautala’s INLD to form a government in the past. Kanda said “all five, six, seven” MLAs have supported the BJP. Kanda was a minister in Bhupinder Singh Hooda government and war arrested in 2012 and accused of rape and abetting suicide of an air hostess working in his company.
Independent MLAs, who have arrived in Delhi include Somweer Sangwan who defeated BJP’s star candidate, Dangal fame, Babita Phogat. BJP rebel Nayanpal Rawat, who won defeating the BJP candidate met Nadda and said he is backing the BJP but refused to go into whether he wants any portfolio. Gopal Kanda and Ranjeet Singh have already met BJP leaders.
Other independent MLAs in touch with BJP are Balraj Kunddu, Rakesh Daulatababad, Dharampal Gonder. However, Congress leader Deepender Hooda, son of former Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda also claimed that he is in touch with some independent MLAs. However, indications are that Congress which has won 31 seats, might find it difficult to get the magic numbers. There is, however, still no last word on Khattar meeting the Haryana Governor to stake claim today to form the government.
Meanwhile after a meeting of top party leaders at Congress President Sonia Gandhi's residence on the issue of government formation in Haryana, Congress Communication department chief questioned the "moral right" of the BJP to form a government in Haryana after most of its ministers also lost at the hustings. Congress Communication Department chief Randeep Surjewala also raised questions on BJP's alleged "doublespeak" on Kanda and now trying to form a government with services and support of the controversial MLA against whom it had in past launched massive agitations. He said any government which the BJP will form now will be an "illegitimate" government.