“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last thing is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” The quote is a perfect illustration of the vogue of the Chief Minister of Haryana, Shri Manohar Lal Khattar.
The CM, who belongs to the close circle of Prime Minister Modi, has done a spectacular job in his eight years of service at the helm of power in the state of Haryana. However, not everything is going as planned, and the speculation of a leadership change is gaining momentum in Haryana.
BJP in introspection mode in Haryana
The recent debacle of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the recently concluded Zilla Parishad elections says mammoth of the ground reality. The BJP-JJP run a coalition government in the state; however, the two units are witnessing infighting in their respective units. The BJP camp is too divided following its poor performance in the local body polls.
CM Manohar Lal Khattar is subjected to serious challenges from within the party. The sorry state of affairs can be seen from the fact that the BJP was able to show courage to contest the election on party symbols in only 7 districts. BJP candidates got elected to only 22 seats on the party symbol, much to the dislike of the BJP central leadership.
PM Modi questions Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar
The cumulative effect of the infighting, local body election losses, and disputes with JJP has piled up against the ongoing CM. The debate over the shift in leadership gained momentum after the recent meeting of PM Narendra Modi with CM Manohar Lal Khattar, where the PM asked the CM, “Is he happy?”
The question can be said to have many meanings, given the cryptic style of the Hon’ble PM. The PM’s statement is seen as a hint that it’s time for the CM to hang up the boots. On the contrary, he might have been inquiring about the state of affairs within the state leadership. Given the long-term association and bonding of the two gargantuan leaders, the meaning is hard to decode.
But, considering the fall in pride of the party in the recent Zilla Parishad elections, some reshuffle can be said to be on the cards. Furthermore, the upcoming Lok Sabha election in 2024 will be followed by assembly elections in Haryana; as a result, the largest party of the nation is expected to introspect and come up with a new strategy before the public in these elections.
Numerous media reports claim that Haryana CM Manohar Lal, a former RSS pracharak, had invited several RSS functionaries to his home for tea. During this meeting, an old associate of the CM hailed the great performance of his friend and said that he was going to complete 8 years as CM.
He indicated that the CM is going to break the record of three stalwarts of Haryana politics, namely Chaudhary Bhajan Lal, Chaudhary Bansi Lal, and Chaudhary Devi Lal. In retort, the CM denied having such goals and said that he has none. However, the media reports concocted a story that he may have to leave the CM’s chair.
However, presently, at the government level in Haryana, there is no development to highlight the change in leadership. In Haryana, CM Manohar Lal Khattar has completed his tenure as Chief Minister for more than 7 years, and till now, there has been no major controversy related to him.
In such a situation, it is also possible that the BJP may not take the risk of changing the leadership. Furthermore, PM Modi’s question to the CM could be about the BJP organisation in Haryana and a possible change in his cabinet.
Rationale: cabinet reshuffle instead of CM’s exit
The entire debate centered around the departure of CM Manohar Lal Khattar from the leadership role in possibly a mere speculation. Rather, the BJP should do away with the non-functional assets in the cabinet. The biggest reason is the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP won all 10 seats in Haryana in 2019. This time too, there is pressure on the BJP leadership in Haryana to repeat its past glory. As a result, following the debacle of the local body elections, the CM and the high command may be hesitant to take chances.
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