Khattar unlikely to be ousted in no-trust vote

Poornima Joshi New Delhi | Updated on February 23, 2021

Manohar Lal Khattar   -  PTI

Congress has demanded a no-confidence motion against the Haryana CM, but the numbers are in favour of the BJP

The Congress’s bid to oust the BJP-led Haryana government through a fresh demand for no-confidence vote by the Legislature Party leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda is unlikely to shake Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s position. Though the agitating farmers have made it difficult for the CM even to hold public meetings, the Opposition Congress has not been able to muster adequate numbers to secure his ouster.

The BJP, on its part, has manoeuvred behind the scenes. The resignation of lone Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MLA Abhay Chautala from the Assembly, ostensibly as a gesture of support for the farmers’ movement, took the strength of the Assembly down from 90 members. With the disqualification of Congress MLA from Kalka, Pradeep Chaudhary who had been convicted in an assault case, the Opposition’s numbers have further weakened.

Congress now has a strength of 30 MLAs whereas the BJP has 40 of its own along with 10 of the ally JJP. Seven members are independent, but five are supporting the BJP. The Haryana Lokhit Party has one MLA, former Minister Gopal Goyal Kanda, who has supported BJP in the past, although the ruling party has shied away from admitting it given Kanda’s controversial past and allegations of abetting the suicide of a young airhostess Geetika Sharma.

The BJP needs 45 MLAs now to defeat the no-trust motion. The Congress too is not very convinced of the successful execution of its plans despite Bhupinder Singh Hooda claiming on Tuesday that the CM had “lost the popular support in Haryana”. The former Chief Minister and his son and Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Hooda seemed to be the only ones visibly involved with the farm stir and active politically. The rest, former Minister Selja Kumari or former Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Ashok Tanwar, have hardly been active. Tanwar had, in any case, quit his post in the run-up to the Assembly polls itself.

“There is popular upsurge in Haryana against the Khattar Government. But the no-confidence vote may not sail through,” said a top source in the Congress.

Published on February 23, 2021

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