Rajat Sharma

BJP played a wise move in striking a coalition deal with Chautala

AKB2610 The stage is now set for a BJP-JJP coalition government in Haryana, after both the parties on Friday night announced a power-sharing deal with Manohar Lal Khattar as chief minister and JJP chief Dushyant Chautala as Deputy Chief Minister. BJP president Amit Shah, announcing the decision, said that the decision to give the deputy CM post to Dushyant Chautala was taken “to respect the spirit of the mandate”.

Amit Shah has surely played a wise move to ensure that Haryana is given a stable government, sparing the hassles of dealing with all independent MLAs who had already offered support. In the power game, Dushyant Chautala has emerged as a wise politician. At a young age, he broke away from his grandfather’s party INLD, set up his own outfit, campaigned hard and bagged 10 seats to take up the role of kingmaker. After the results were out, Dushyant Chautala exercised utmost patience, took his party leaders into confidence and negotiated a deal that appears to be sensible.

I am describing Dushyant Chautala as wise because the BJP had already secured the support of as many as eight independents, and was in a position to form the government, as it was six short of majority. Since JJP is a new party, Dushyant will now utilize the trappings of power to expand his party’s support base. However the Haryana coalition deal may have some repercussions in Maharashtra, where Shiv Sena is clamouring for the CM post. BJP leadership has already clarified that the question of CM post is non-negotiable, and Devendra Fadnavis will continue to be the chief minister.

The swiftness with which BJP struck a deal with JJP is in striking contrast with the lethargy that has engulfed the Congress party, which, under Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s leadership managed to win 31 seats. There was a time when Congress leaders were known for their clever negotiation skills in securing support to form governments in the states, but given the recent examples of Goa and now Haryana, it is clear that Congress leadership failed because of lethargy.

Not only this, the party leadership took time in handing over leadership to Hooda, the party’s poll campaign started late and now the delay in initiating efforts for government formation.

The surprising thing to note is, the results of Haryana and Maharashtra were declared two days ago, but nobody knows where Rahul Gandhi is and what he is doing. Neither Rahul gave any statement about the results, nor did he initiate any effort towards government formation. One senior Congress leader told me in private that it was better that Rahul did not campaign in Haryana, otherwise the party could not have bagged 31 seats.

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