Haryana CM Khattar's second term: allies' challenges and teflon image
Four years into Haryana CM Khattar's second term: balancing allies and maintaining a teflon image
Manohar Lal Khattar, serving his second consecutive term as Haryana's Chief Minister, faced a series of challenges during his four-year tenure. While handling the pandemic was a major task, his minority government, formed through a post-poll alliance with the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), presented its own set of difficulties.
COVID response and coalition struggle
Khattar's government performed well in COVID vaccination, covering 100% of adults with the first dose and about 90% of those above 15 with the second dose. However, managing the coalition with JJP was less smooth. Tensions surfaced when an inquiry into unauthorized liquor stock movement during the 2020 lockdown, ordered by Khattar, exposed issues within the excise department, overseen by Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala. This inquiry raised questions of collusion in liquor smuggling during the lockdown.
Digital transformation and governance initiatives
Khattar's tenure was marked by digital transformation initiatives aimed at reducing corruption and enhancing government operations. The Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP), a family identity card project, sought to improve the delivery of services based on authenticated data. While these initiatives faced criticism and opposition from some quarters, they aimed to make welfare programs more efficient and transparent.
Khattar also introduced other notable initiatives, such as Comprehensive Health Insurance for lower-income families and Bhavantar Bharpai crop damage compensation. However, his governance faced criticism regarding law and order, cow vigilantism, and rising crime rates. Maintaining the coalition with JJP proved challenging, with some BJP leaders expressing reservations about Dushyant Chautala's leadership style. As the 2024 assembly polls approach, the future of this alliance remains uncertain, with voices within the BJP advocating for its reconsideration.