Hectic lobbying on in Haryana BJP for CM's post

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Chandigarh, Oct 20: Hectic lobbying was on behind the curtains in Haryana BJP for the post of chief minister, who is "likely" to take oath on October 22 even as the party high command has kept its cards close to its chest.

Amid the last minute attempts to stake claim for the post of Chief Minister in Haryana, a meeting of the newly elected 47 party MLAs has been convened here tomorrow.

The meeting will be chaired by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu and party vice president Dinesh Sharma, who have been appointed observers by the BJP's Parliamentary Board for deciding on who will be the CM of Haryana. "The two BJP leaders will take opinion of all the elected MLAs at the meeting," senior BJP leader and party MLA from Ambala Cantonment Anil Vij said today.

"During the meeting, MLAs keen on becoming CM can stake claim before the observers," he said, adding that the final call will be taken by the party high command. Vij, however, said that Haryana's new Chief Minister is likely to take oath on October 22 alongwith some Cabinet ministers.

Even as no one is ready to come on record to stake claim for the post, among the front runners are state BJP chief Rambilas Sharma, former RSS member M L Khattar, party spokesman Capt Abhimanyu, party's Kisan cell president Om Parkash Dhankar and also Vij.

Sharma, a Brahimin by origin, who had remained a Cabinet minister in Bansi Lal and O P Chautala government, also enjoys good rapport with the BJP think tank. Khattar a Punjabi by origin is stated to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.

However, BJP is also keeping in mind the names of Union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Krishan Pal Gujjar and Rao Inderjit Singh. Abhimanyu is the Jat face of the party in the state and is stated to have the blessings of Shah. Statistics also favour Vij, strong party face in the last decade.

Haryana, after its creation in 1966, was mostly governed by leaders from dominant Jat community, including Bansi Lal, Devi Lal, Om Parkash Chautala and Bhupinder Singh Hooda. The non Jat leaders who ruled the state included Bhajan Lal, Bhagwat Dyal Sharma and Banarsi Das Gupta.

The party can also accommodate Congress-turned-BJP leader Birender Singh, a jat with considerable influence among the people of the state outside district of Jind. Singh was inducted into the BJP ahead of polls after he snapped ties with Congress after working for the party for four decades. 


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