Haryana Cabinet tears into Khattar – The Tribune
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Serivce
Chandigarh, May 7
Seven of the eight Haryana Cabinet ministers have given an ultimatum to the BJP high command, through general secretary Dr Anil Jain, to prevail upon Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to mend his “dictatorial” attitude in dealing with works pertaining to their departments, it is learnt.
At the informal Cabinet meeting in Faridabad last week, the ministers minced no words in expressing their displeasure to Khattar himself. Taking turns to highlight how official works were being scuttled by bureaucrats on the pretext that the CM had asked them to do so, they cited several instances to make their point.
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Three ministers were almost livid as they told the CM how his “undue interference’ was adversely affecting the performance of their departments. Health and Sports Minister Anil Vij went to the extent of saying, “Are we there only to work on the CM’s announcement?” He said files pertaining to announcements by the CM were cleared on priority by the Finance Department, and the remaining gathered dust.
The CM has made about 3,600 announcements so far, and work has started on about 34 per cent. After making his point, Vij walked out of the meeting in a huff.
Citing an example where Khattar stayed away from one of his private functions, Education Minister Ram Bilas questioned him: “Are you trying to threaten me by staying away from my functions?”
Calling himself, Ram Bilas and Khattar a “tikkri” (trio) of the pre-BJP government days, Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar told Khattar that they went back several years, but he could never imagine that a “sanyasi” (ascetic) would stick to a chair. He reminded Khattar that they had all vowed to work for the welfare of Haryana, but “I’m saddened that you have so negatively been influenced by power”.
Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu too expressed his displeasure but chose more civil language. He blamed the CM for using the bureaucracy for stalling official work pertaining to other ministries.
PWD Minister Rao Narbir was the only one to side with the CM and chose to stay quiet. Annoyed at his “diplomatic posturing”, several ministers chose to abstain from a function hosted by him a day later.
Ministers Kavita Jain (Women & Child Development), Vipul Goel (Industries and Commerce) and Krishan Panwar (Transport) reportedly told the CM that they seriously resented his attitude and direct interference in their departments.
As the meeting ended and Khattar and state BJP president Subhash Barala left the venue, four ministers demanded that they be given a personal hearing by Dr Jain and party’s organising secretary Suresh Bhatt. Anil Vij was again called and he along with Ram Bilas, Dhankar and Abhimanyu told the party leaders in very clear terms that the CM must be asked to mend his ways.