Stage set for Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar’s first Cabinet expansion today

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Published: November 14, 2019 9:03:50 AM

The BJP had formed government in the state with the help of the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) led by Dushyant Chautala, the great grandson of former deputy prime minister late Devi Lal. The seven Independents are also supporting the government.

haryana cabinet expansionHaryana Cabinet expansion: Manohar Lal Khattar to expand his Cabinet on Thursday

Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala was allocated 11 departments on Wednesday, a day before the first expansion of the Manohar Lal Khattar-led cabinet. Khattar (65), who took oath as the chief minister for the second time on October 27, and Dushyant Chautala (31), who was sworn-in as his deputy, are the only two members of the present cabinet.

On the advice of the chief minister, the governor allocated the departments to the existing council of ministers, according to an official order.

The BJP had formed government in the state with the help of the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) led by Chautala, the great grandson of former deputy prime minister late Devi Lal. The seven Independents are also supporting the government.

The 11 portfolios allocated to Chautala include the excise and taxation, development and panchayats, industries and commerce, and food and civil supplies departments, the order said The other departments which he will hold are the revenue and disaster management, public works, labour and employment, civil aviation, archeology and museum, and rehabilitation and consolidation, it said. For the moment, Chief Minister Khattar will hold all the departments except those allocated to Chautala. When the cabinet will be expanded on Thursday, some of the portfolios held by Khattar will be distributed among the new ministers.

The Haryana cabinet can have 14 members, including the chief minister and the deputy chief minister.

“Haryana Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the Haryana ministers at the Haryana Raj Bhawan on Thursday,” an official spokesperson said.

Khattar also held a meeting with his MLAs and invited the seven Independents supporting the government for dinner on Wednesday.

The BJP and the JJP have factored out various permutations and combinations to give wider representation to all sections and regions of the state in the first expansion, sources said.

The JJP is likely to get two ministerial berths and one or two Independents can also be accommodated in the expanded council of ministers. The BJP is likely to induct six ministers from its camp, they said.

The saffron party had won 40 seats, the JJP 10 and the Congress 31 in the polls to the 90-members state assembly. The INLD and the Haryana Lokhit Party won one seat each. Haryana’s main opposition party Congress had criticised Khattar over the delay in inducting ministers, with its senior leader Randeep Singh Surjewala saying nearly three weeks have passed after the declaration of election results in Haryana, but the BJP-JJP are only “busy in fighting to secure maximum number of ministerial portfolios”.

The Haryana polls were held on October 21 and results declared on October 24.

On Tuesday, Dushyant Chautala had discussed the cabinet expansion issue with the chief minister in Chandigarh. There was also a discussion on allotment of departments with the chief minister, Chautala had told reporters after meeting Khattar.

Frontrunners from the BJP for ministerial berths include six-time legislator Anil Vij, former speaker Kanwar Pal, Seema Trikha, Mahipal Dhanda, Deepak Mangla, Ganshyam Saraf, Banwari Lal, Abhe Singh Yadav and Kamal Gupta. Ram Kumar Gautam, Ishwar Singh or Anoop Dhanak are probables from the JJP and the Independents, who are likely to be inducted into the cabinet, are Ranjit Singh Chautala and Balraj Kundu.

The impasse in Maharashtra was believed to be one of the factors that delayed the cabinet expansion, which was to be held on Tuesday. Khattar had met Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi the expansion on Sunday.

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