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Punjab’s situation serious, however, the Centre is extremely vigilant and alert: Khattar
- You have worked with Bansilal and Chautala ji.
CM ML Khattar: We never joined Chautala ji’s government. We always supported his government from outside and the reason for extending an outside support is that if something is not in the benefit of state, society or nation, that can be kept away. And that issue is always with Congress. So, if Congress has to be kept away, one has to forge coalitions and thus, BJP used to walk together with Devilal ji and family and prior to that Jan Sangh. We used to move together and the Congress used to move on its own path. It was so then, and it is exactly the case now too.
- So is this a contradiction that Dushyant’s party contested the Zila Parishad and Panchayat elections on its own? In future, do you have trust and faith that you will contest in coalition?
It is not that they have gone their separate ways. It is just that this time around, we had left the election on district units. It is not that the party did not contest on its level. Of course the BJP contested and the JJP also contested, but we gave the freedom to make this decision to the district units that where they want to contest together they can and if they want to contest separately, they can do so as well. However, even after contesting against each other, at places where we have had to make chairman at various places, we have come together and made our Chairman. At places, the Vice-Chairman is theirs’ and the Chairman is ours’ and vice -versa. In total, at 20 places, we have our own leaders, that is, 17 Chairmen of BJP and 3 of JJP. Only at two places, INLD and Congress have got their Chairmen. So, only two are of other parties, remaining are of the coalition party i.e. Ours’.
- Did you find any impact of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Yatra’ in Haryana?
There is no impact in Haryana. In fact, it is more like a routine, where people gather to have a glimpse of any other leader. Of course, they have their party workers and if 10 or 20,000 people walk together, then it is not a major threat for us.
- So is there any threat from the Hooda factor?
None what so ever. They will get burdened under their own weight. Whatever is happening around them, means they are not a factor.
- What about AAP and Owaisi’s AIMIM?
They do not have any impact here. In fact, in this State, only the Mewat region is the one, which has three assembly constituencies and at different times, these seats have had different characteristics. When we first came to power, those seats were with INLD, thereafter, all three fell in Congress’ kitty. Now the situation is that the Chairman of the Zila Parishad is of BJP. This is for the first time that the Chairman is of BJP. The local councillors, 17 in total, are with BJP.
- The Khalistan issue has crept in Punjab. Do you think President rule should be imposed in that State?
It is an extremely serious issue. Everyone should look at the matter with utmost seriousness. Haryana is alert and vigilant and the Central government too is staying extremely vigilant. Also, people in Punjab should think over it. I feel that there is a state of confusion in Punjab, because the Congress is on back foot, Akalis have been disenfranchised and the BJP has had a major base there. Now, since no one is there and people need someone to be there, so they chose AAP and soon after that party came to power, people realised that this is something else. They gave so many things as ‘revaris’ or the fact that they did not take administration along. In fact, once you are in power, you should establish coordination with the administration and take them along. They can not do things going against bureaucracy and administration. There is no clear direction. As a result, what happened was after Bhagwant Mann became the CM and stepped down from his Parliamentary constituency, by polls were conducted and within three or four months of Mann’s stepping down, AAP lost the seat! Simranjeet Singh Mann won the election from that seat. So, you see for yourself what kind of situation arose within people in Punjab.
- Some people are saying that if the situation prevails, then President rule will have to be imposed in Punjab.
See, I will not comment on this because the Central Government and the Union Home Ministry is keeping an eye on all these issues. But yes, the matter is serious and how to control such serious issues? If the State Government shows will power and works to curtail it, then definitely the Central Government will also help it, because this issue is not about parties rather it is about establishing peace in the State. And if the State Government fails, then the Central Government will think about it.
- There are governments of different parties in all the states neighbouring Haryana like Delhi and Punjab. Do you face any difficulty in coordinating with them?
No. See when it comes to carrying out our ‘padosidharma’ we talk to everyone, be it the CM of Punjab or Rajasthan. When I speak to the Chief Minister of Delhi on issues such as pollution, environment and water; we keep our issues before them and talk in an open environment. When we decide on moving head in the same direction, so we move ahead and where there are difficulties in finding the right approach or path ahead, we talk openly. We have a dispute with Punjab and the matter is now in Supreme Court. We have held three rounds of talks also after the Supreme Court directed so. But no middle path could be found. The court had said that we should find a way for water sharing, but they (Punjab govt) do not come to that question and clearly say they will not share water. Although how much water should we get, is a matter pertaining to tribunal. That tribunal is there and everyone will put forward their side of the issue and then it will be decided on the basis of need and availability of water. Today, the need is increasing with each passing day, even Delhi’s demand for drinking water is increasing and that pressure falls on Haryana. We say that even our population is also growing like that of Gurgaon, Sonipat and Faridabad. The demand for drinking water in NCR is increasing and we have limited sources of water. If you look at it, Haryana does not have its own source of water. If its Yamuna, then we have to share with Uttar Pradesh and it has Delhi’s share too. Similarly, remaining rivers are in Punjab and none flows through Haryana. So, we have to reach an agreement to take some water.
- You said you speak to CMs of neighbouring states. Recently the incident of two youth from Rajasthan happened here. How did you handle that?
When we spoke, we shared one line discussion that those behind it will not be spared. Be it those who died or those who killed them. Because those who have died they also have a past character and it does not end with their death. It was kind of a clash. So, those who have killed them, have taken the law in their hands. Thus, we will have to think on both aspects and will have to come to an agreement of sorts so that such incidents do not happen in the future.
- So if Rajasthan police goes and takes action, then law of the land will take its course?
They have made a few arrests already.
- So there is no issue in it?
See we have told our people to ensure peace. We conducted a meeting of the Peace Committee in Nuh so that mutual discord does not happen. The incident has happened which is unfortunate and the onus of it should fall on the right person.
- What about the Sports Minister? Has it been decided that he is not being removed?
See, merely accusing someone does not term him or her guilty. For example, if there is a law that as soon as someone is accused of anything, I think, all the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies will become empty. Then anyone could lay accusations on you or me and we too wouldn’t be seated here. So, filing an FIR on a complaint doesn’t prove anyone guilty. The police is investigating the matter and in fact, it is Chandigarh police that is investigating, the Haryana police has no role in it. So, after investigation, it is obvious that they will present ‘challan’ in court and then after hearing, court terms the person guilty, then we will take a step. However, having said that, we have taken a precaution that since the matter pertains to the Sports department, so we have taken that charge from Sandeep Singh so that one day someone may not say that as Minister he could influence the investigation.
- Does your bureaucracy support you? Are you satisfied?
If someone becomes the Chief Minister and is capable of running the government, then the bureaucracy supports such people. I once narrated a story to bureaucrats and they burst out laughing. The story went on that once there was a king and he took a liking to some dish. So, he called his Minister and said that he liked the food because the dish was superb. He enquired what the dish was made up of and the Minister said that it was brinjal. The Minister said that brinjals have several qualities but its name is such. It has qualities like it shines, has a crown etc. A week down the line the King told his Minister that his stomach was upset perhaps due to food. The Minister enquired what did the King eat and he said that it was ‘brinjal.’ The Minister immediately quipped, what sort of vegetable is ‘brinjal.’ It should be ‘Be-Gun’ and the Minister narrated several shortfalls in the vegetable. The King then questioned, if the statement made by the Minister seven days ago was right or the one made by him now is correct ? The Minister said both are correct & the King asked as to how is that possible? The Minister replied saying, “I have to work for you, not the ‘brinjal!”
- You have been heading the State for eight years. What do you think has been your biggest achievement?
See, firstly, whatever work the State Government does, we do not leave it in the middle. Otherwise, what happens in governments is that in some aspects, they go way ahead and in some others, they lag leading to unequal development. We are moving ahead with the motto of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ given by the Prime Minister. No sector is out of bounds, no section of the society is out of bounds for us. If we have to discriminate, we will do so only to bring those who have fallen behind, to the main stream.
During the show #JCWithManoharLal trended top All-India on Twitter