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Haryana Alliance Ends, ML Khattar Likely To Take Oath Again Today: Sources

New Delhi: The Haryana political landscape is in a state of flux after the resignations of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his cabinet on Tuesday morning, following a split in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Jannayak Janta Party alliance over failed seat-sharing talks for the Lok Sabha election.

Sources have told NDTV Mr Khattar could return in the top post, perhaps as soon as 4 pm. He could head a new government with the BJP's numbers - currently 41 in the 90-member Assembly - boosted by five JJP MLAs - Jogi Ram Sihag, Ram Kumar Gautam, Ishwar Singh, Ramniwas and Devinder Babli.

Sources said these five may form a breakaway group and join the BJP, but are unlikely to be given ministerial berths. The new government will also likely be backed by seven independent MLAs.

"We have already extended our support... We also discussed strategy for the election. I got the impression process of breaking the alliance has started," Nayan Rawat, an independent MLA, said.

A swearing-in ceremony - with a new Chief Minister and two (possibly) deputies - is expected later today; a legislature party meeting is expected to take place shortly, with National General Secretary Tarun Chugh and junior Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda rushed to observe the proceedings.

Mr Khattar is seen as the frontrunner, but there is talk he could be replaced to ward off potential anti-incumbency sentiments. Sources said Kurukshetra MP Nayab Singh Saini and Sanjay Bhatia, the Lok Sabha MP from Karnal - in which falls Mr Khattar's Assembly constituency - are also in the race.

Sources told NDTV feedback from BJP MLAs will be considered. NDTV has also been told the BJP's state leadership had expressed doubts over the JJP's ability to pull the crucial Jat community votes. 

There is also talk Haryana could have two Deputy Chief Ministers - from different communities - in a replay of the BJP's moves after it won the Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh elections.

Last year the BJP took its time to name its three new chief ministers for Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, factoring caste and community equations, and keeping an eye on the Lok Sabha election, before unveiling three little-known faces.

The BJP-JJP alliance - formed after the 2019 Assembly election failed to deliver a decisive mandate - has broken down, NDTV understands, after the two failed to agree a Lok Sabha seat-sharing deal. The JJP wanted to contest two of the state's 10 seats, but the BJP was only willing to give one.

Since then, both parties have said they will contest the forthcoming poll independently.

In the 2019 election, the BJP won all 10 seats. Mr Chautala's party - which had just been formed - lost all seven of its contests but finished with a creditable vote share of 4.9 per cent.

Khattar For Lok Sabha?

There was also speculation Mr Khattar's resignation could be followed by his Lok Sabha election debut from Mr Bhatia's Karnal. Mr Bhatia, sources said, might make the switch in the opposite direction.

That, however, now seems an unlikely sequence of events.

JJP's Next Steps?

Mr Chautala is not short of options, with the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party the two big outfits who might be open to a tie-up. The Indian National Lok Dal - founded by iconic farmer leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal and led now by his son Om Prakash - is also a possibility. 

However, the Congress and AAP - both members of the INDIA bloc - have agreed a seat-share deal in the state, under which the former will fight nine seats and AAP will contest from Kurukshetra.

Congress Growing In Haryana

The shuffle in Haryana's political landscape also comes amid a possible strengthening of the Congress' hand in the state, which is also set to hold an Assembly election this year.

Last week Hisar MP Brijendra Singh joined the opposition party with Mallikarjun Kharge present. "I have resigned from BJP's primary membership due to compelling political reasons," he said.

In the 2019 Assembly election the Congress won 31 seats - up from just 15 five years earlier. In the general election, like the JJP, the national party failed to win any seat, but finished second to the BJP in all 10 and saw a 5.5 per cent increase in its vote share to 28.5 per cent. 

Source: NDTV

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