Opposition slams BJP, demands Khattar's removal

New Delhi


Demand for the sacking of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar grew on Saturday as the BJP came under severe attack from opposition parties for failure of its government in the state to prevent the widespread violence that claimed 31 lives after the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a rape case.

However, BJP sources indicated that the top party leadership was in no hurry to take action against Khattar and would like the situation to first "cool down". The issue could be discussed only after the situation normalises in the state, they said.

Stepping up the offensive, the Congress accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "saving" Khattar and demanded the sacking of the Chief Minister and imposition of President's rule in Haryana. The Bahujan Samaj Party dubbed the violence as "shameful surrender" of the Khattar government to votebank politics. The CPI-M also demanded sacking of the Chief Minister.

Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi at a press conference said the death toll figures reported "seems to be false, and it's higher". He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to "save his friend Khattar".

"You are seeing a naked dance of absolute violence, riots on the street," Singhvi said on the violence that took place in Haryana on Friday.

Singhvi said there was a failure on the part of the Centre as well as state government, adding that the "'nikammi sarkar' (useless government) should be suspended".

"It is unprecedented that a situation like this came with a notice of seven days, but both the Haryana and the central governments remained mute, impotent spectators," Singhvi said.

Another Congress leader Shashi Tharoor slammed Khattar and said he should be sacked if he doesn't resign.

"Ultimately it is the Chief Minister and his cabinet who are responsible for law and order in their state. It is complete failure of the Khattar government and he should be sacked," Tharoor said.

"You have a Chief Minister who has failed to maintain law and order..., there have been so many deaths, and if he is allowed to remain in his seat it will not augur well for our country," he said.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist said in a statement that Khattar should be "immediately sacked" for failing to protect the lives of innocent people and demanded dissolution of the BJP government in the state. 

"Despite having knowledge and widespread apprehension of trouble and violence, the BJP government and the Chief Minister of Haryana did not take adequate preventive measures. This serious dereliction of duty by the state government created a situation of complete breakdown of law and order," the CPI-M Politburo said in a statement.

"Clearly the state government in Haryana has lost its authority to continue. The state government and the Chief Minister cannot remain in office. Chief Minister Khattar must be immediately sacked," the party demanded.

BSP Chief Mayawati said there was a criminal negligence on the part of the government and vote bank politics of the BJP led to the mayhem in Haryana. 

"The Khattar government should be immediately dismissed. It has failed to protect its people from large-scale violence after the conviction of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief on rape charges," Mayawati said.

"This kind of shameful surrender for politics of vote needs to be condemned by all," she added.

Violence during the Jat agitation in February in the state last year had left 30 people dead and over 200 injured, while government and private property worth hundreds of crores was damaged. - IANS