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Haryana Alliance Ends, ML Khattar Likely To Take Oath Again Today: Sources

 

Sources said the BJP - the single largest party in the 90-member Assembly with 40 seats - is confident of forming the government with support from independent MLAs.




New Delhi: 

The Haryana political landscape is in a state of flux after the resignations of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his cabinet on Tuesday morning.

The resignations - after a split in the ruling BJP-JJP alliance over failed seat-sharing talks for the Lok Sabha election - have led to speculation over the identity of the next Chief Minister and government.

Sources have told NDTV Mr Khattar could return in the top post, perhaps as soon as 4 pm. He could head a new government with the BJP's numbers - currently 41 in the 90-member Assembly - boosted by five JJP MLAs - Jogi Ram Sihag, Ram Kumar Gautam, Ishwar Singh, Ramniwas and Devinder Babli.

Sources said these five may form a breakaway group and join the BJP, but are unlikely to be given ministerial berths. The new government will also likely be backed by seven independent MLAs.

"We have already extended our support... We also discussed strategy for the election. I got the impression process of breaking the alliance has started," Nayan Rawat, an independent MLA, told reporters after meeting Mr Khattar.

A swearing-in ceremony - with a new Chief Minister and two (possibly) deputies - is expected later today; a legislature party meeting is expected to take place shortly, with senior leaders Tarun Chugh and junior Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda sent from the party's Delhi HQ to observe proceedings.

The move to name two Deputy Chief Ministers - from two different communities - is a replay of the BJP's moves after it won the Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh elections last year.

The party took its time to name its three new chief ministers, factoring in caste and community equations in each state with an eye on the Lok Sabha election.

The BJP-JJP alliance - formed after the 2019 Assembly election failed to deliver a decisive mandate - has broken down, NDTV understands, after the two failed to agree a Lok Sabha seat-sharing deal. The JJP wanted to contest two of the state's 10 seats, but the BJP was only willing to give one.

Since then, both parties have said they will contest the forthcoming poll independently.

In the 2019 election, the BJP won all 10 seats. Mr Chautala's party - which had just been formed - lost all seven of its contests but finished with a creditable vote share of 4.9 per cent.

There was also speculation Mr Khattar's resignation could be followed by his Lok Sabha election debut - from the Karnal seat held currently by the BJP's Sanjay Bhatia. Mr Bhatia, sources said, might make the switch in the opposite direction - going from Parliament to become Chief Minister.

That, however, now seems an unlikely sequence of events.

The shuffle in Haryana's political landscape also comes amid a possible strengthening of the Congress' hand in the state, which is also set to hold an Assembly election this year.

Last week Hisar MP Brijendra Singh joined the opposition party with Mallikarjun Kharge present. "I have resigned from BJP's primary membership due to compelling political reasons," he said.

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