Khattar resigns as Karnal MLA, says CM Saini will take care of segment

The former CM, named as a BJP candidate for the Lok Sabha polls, announced his resignation after the new government won the trust vote

Haryana ex-CM Manohar Lal Khattar (photo: National Herald archives)
Haryana ex-CM Manohar Lal Khattar (photo: National Herald archives)


Hours before he was named as the BJP candidate for the Karnal Lok Sabha seat, former Haryana chief minister M.L. Khattar on Wednesday announced he was resigning as the MLA from the Karnal Assembly segment.

"From today, our chief minister will look after the Karnal Assembly constituency," he said, in an indication that the BJP might field Nayab Singh Saini in that seat. Saini, who took oath as chief minister on Tuesday, needs to be elected to the Assembly within six months.

The former chief minister, who was named in the BJP's second list for the Lok Sabha polls, announced that he was resigning after the Nayab Saini government won the trust vote in the Assembly. "In the past nine-and-a-half years, I have served as the leader of the House. I will serve the people of Haryana till my last breath," he said. "Change is a part of life, change happens in many ways. When a turn comes, you take it. That does not mean changing path."

"Hum na honge koi hum sa hoga, toh hamare Nayab Saini jaisa hoga (if I'm not there, someone like me will be, like our Nayab Saini)," the former CM added.

Khattar was speaking on a resolution moved by the BJP's Abhe Singh Yadav to thank the previous government led by him for its work during nine-and-a-half years. "People of Karnal sent me to the Assembly twice. I am not the chief minister now, I am the MLA of that constituency. But chief minister Saini has not yet contested Assembly polls... he also has to contest the polls... I make the announcement in this House that I resign from the Karnal assembly seat today," he said.

The former chief minister said he would fulfil whatever responsibility the BJP entrusts him with.

Congress MLA Raghuvir Singh Kadian said the reasons behind the leadership change should also be presented before the House, while Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said even if the ruling BJP wanted to thank its former chief minister, there was no need to bring in a resolution. "Don't set new precedents," he added.

Referring to the Congress moving a 'no-confidence' motion against the Khattar government last month, Hooda said, "Humne unko ayina kya dikha diya, unhone toh chehra hi badal diya (we only showed them the mirror, they changed the face)."

Hooda was apparently referring to Saini replacing Khattar as chief minister of Haryana, though the no-confidence motion had been defeated. Referring to Khattar resigning from Karnal, Hooda asked the BJP leader, "Tell us, where will you go now? Will you go to Delhi? Will you fight the parliamentary election from Karnal?"

"Why this hurry? If you want to go, you can. One has got to go to Delhi in any case. Delhi is not far," the former CM responded in a lighter vein.

Khattar, meanwhile, touched upon several initiatives taken by the previous government to provide a transparent administration focused on the digitalisation of various services. He recalled that when he became chief minister for the first time in 2014, many said he lacked experience.

"I went to the prime minister and asked him if I could consult some fellow chief ministers. He told me that when I go among people, I learn some things from there, some things from officials, and some things from opposition members in the Vidhan Sabha," Khattar added.

Khattar was elected from the Karnal assembly seat for the first time in 2014 when the BJP formed the government on its own strength in Haryana.

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