Manohar Lal Khattar to be next Haryana chief minister



Manohar Lal Khattar will be the next chief minister of Haryana, the BJP announced Tuesday.

The former Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) 'Pracharak' was chosen by the newly elected Bharatiya Janata Party legislators as their leader at a meeting here.

"I have been chosen by the party legislators and the BJP leadership for this responsibility. I can assure you that we will work for the welfare of the people of Haryana," Khattar said after being elected the leader of the BJP legislative group.

"My government will be transparent and there will be no discrimination with any area," Khattar, sporting a light blue jacket, told media persons.

Khattar, 60, will be the first BJP chief minister of the state, which was formed Nov 1, 1966.

Despite being a first-time legislator with no administrative experience, the BJP chose Khattar, who belongs to the Punjabi community, in the Jat-dominated politics of Haryana.

The swearing-in of the new chief minister and other ministers is likely to take place Oct 26. The ceremony could take place at a sports stadium in Panchkula town, 15 km from here, instead of the Haryana Raj Bhavan here.

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu and senior BJP leader Dinesh Sharma attended the meeting of the legislators as observers sent by the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) parliamentary board.

"The name of Khattar was proposed for chief minister by Haryana BJP president Ram Bilas Sharma and he (Khattar) was unanimously elected. We will now meet the Haryana Governor (Kaptan Singh Solanki) and request him to invite him to form the next government," BJP central observer Dinesh Sharma told media.

The BJP got the majority on its own for the first time in Haryana in the results of the elections to the 90-member assembly declared Sunday.

Besides Khattar, other names doing rounds for the chief minister's post were those of state BJP president Ram Bilas Sharma, state BJP spokesperson Abhimanyu, senior legislator Anil Vij and BJP Kisan Cell leader O.P. Dhankar from among the recently elected legislators.

Other names being mentioned were of union Ministers Sushma Swaraj, Rao Inderjit Singh and Krishan Pal. The name of Congressman-turned-BJP leader Birender Singh also figured in the speculation.

This is the first time that the BJP will form its own government in the state. The party had won only four assembly seats in the 2009 polls.

Results of the Haryana assembly elections were historic for the BJP as the party romped home with 47 legislators.

The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) followed with 19 legislators while the Congress, which was in power since March 2005, managed to get only 15 seats. Two seats went to the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), one each to Shiromani Akali Dal and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Five independent candidates were also elected. - IANS