Dawn of new era in BJP casts shadow on Manohar Lal Khattar

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The BJP is also seen to have revised its previous electoral strategy of seeking consolidation of the non-dominant caste groups.

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, December 16: The Bharatiya Janata Party effortlessly cut to size regional satraps of the party in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh. The dawn of the new era in the BJP where the top brass is seen to be installing own choices easily has rung alarm bells among the second run of the leadership of the party in states.

The BJP circle is abuzz with speculations on the fate of the incumbent Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar. The BJP installed three chief ministers in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh who are less than 60 years in age. The BJP’s new chief ministers are from the club of 50 years old. The party leaders argue that the BJP is gradually scaling down the age of the chief ministers into the 50 years age bracket as part of the roadmap for the 2029 Lok Sabha elections.

The BJP leaders argue that Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar who is 69 years old may face the scanner of the top leadership of the party. Khattar is currently serving the second term in the office. Haryana will go into the Assembly elections within six months of the next year’s Lok Sabha elections. Khattar is leading an alliance government in Haryana along with deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala.

The BJP is also seen to have revised its previous electoral strategy of seeking consolidation of the non-dominant caste groups. It may be recalled that Khattar as chief minister of Haryana had widely been said to have helped the BJP consolidate non-Jat vote base.

But the BJP is now seeking inroads into the dominant caste groups also. This became evident with the BJP making Mohan Yadav chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. This is with an eye to the Yadav vote base in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The BJP also give the chief ministership to tribal in Chhattisgarh by making Vishnu Deo Sai the CM of the state. The BJP has also given an impression that the party is backing Babu Lal Marandi in Jharkhand. Marandi is a tribal leader.

In this backdrop, the political observers claim that the BJP may examine the idea of a younger leader from the Jat community in Haryana. However, it may be noted that Khattar has an old relation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi which dates back to the days when both were not nationally known and served in the party.

While the BJP had formed government in Haryana on its own in 2014, the saffron outfit had to take the help of Chouatala in 2019 to retain power in the state. While the Congress is principal rival of the BJP in Haryana, the Aam Aadmi Party has also been making efforts to gain base in the state. Ironically, Khattar was the central observer of the BJP for the meeting of the legislative party in Madhya Pradesh where he asked Shivraj Singh Chouhan to propose the name of Mohan Yadav as the leader.  

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