Is Rao Inderjit's outburst against Khattar genuine discontent or BJP's electoral ploy
Union minister Rao Inderjit Singh, who represents Gurugram in Lok Sabha, made headlines recently when he targetted Haryana Chief Minister Manohal Lal Khattar over caste-based discriminations. It was not the first time – In May, he gave a piece of his mind when Khattar failed to reach an event to mark four years of the Narendra Modi government.
These instances have exposed cracks in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a state where Assembly elections will be due soon after next year's Lok Sabha polls. They can be embarassing for the party.
All the same, there are political observers who feel otherwise: Such contrarian stands resemble the time-tested strategy of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) of speaking in different voices to gauge the public mood and settle down at a point of convenience.
Whatever be the case, Inderjit's reported outburst at a workers' meet left the Khattar regime red-faced. “... The state has seen cracks along castes in his (Khattar's) regime. No one can rule in this situation as it has taken the shape of a three-legged chair, on which no one can sit,” he said.
A 'leader' should be appointed chief minister, instead of a CM learning to be a leader, Inderjit said, taking a jibe at Khatta without naming him.
He also hit out at Khattar regrding the non-completion of the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal despite the Supreme Court ruling in favour of Haryana. The Indian National Lok Dal has been playing the issue up: “Once, the CM discussed the SYL issue with me and planned to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with other Haryana leaders to seek the delegation of a central agency for ensuring the execution of the Supreme Court verdict.
“I do not know whether he has met the Prime Minister or not,” he reportedly said, adding that he, along with other Parliamentarians from the state would call on Modi in the forthcoming monsoon session of the Lok Sabha to demand execution of the project.
Inderjit refuted speculation over his departure from the BJP. But his attack on Khattar points to a simmering caste cauldron in Haryana.
The manner in which the Khattar government dealt with the 2016 Jat agitation over reservation of seats in educational institutions and jobs deepened caste-divide. Jats stood isolated from the remaining 35 biradaris (communities) and the BJP was accused by the opposition of polarising the society for political benefits, a political analyst said.
The Khattar regime was held responsible for paralysing the state administration on the ground at the peak of the violence and not reining in Kurukshetra MP Raj Kumar Saini from spewing venom against community.
Some observers think Inderjit's outburst can be a ploy to consolidate his position in the state's Yadav-dominated Ahirwal region. “By praising Modi and attacking Khattar from the same platform, he has got nothing to loose,” pointed out a senior political observer Balwant Takshak.
Inderjit, they said, was looking at at least one more term in the Lok Sabha MP and wants his daughter to enter the state Assembly. Such muscle flexing can help him achieve both goals.
Others think his outburst was part of the Sangh Parivar strategy of speaking in different voices. “The BJP has taken no action until date against Saini for his continuing venomous diatribe against the Jats. Inderjit talking against Khattar from a different platform is an additional voice coming from a different corner of the state. It can be a part of the strategy to get electoral returns by taking different stands and later come back together to join hands,” Takshak said.
Whatever the case, by his repeated outbursts Inderjit has emerged as a leader to keep a watch on.