"We won and we are delighted, We feel proud," Women cricketers after India's historic Asian Games gold
PM Modi is one of the most caring persons; has successfully achieved his target of improving the image of leaders in nation: CM Khattar
- Decades back when you came from Pakistan, did you ever think that you would reach such heights and would become Chief Minister?
CM ML Khattar: Well, it was not Pakistan, but I had come from West Punjab. Pakistan was created later. This is a fact that those who came here, were ‘hand to mouth’ and fought the situation, worked as labourers, or small-time farmers, or worked in shops. Our family was one such family, which had to undergo immense struggle. Even our studies happened under many hardships. After completing my studies when I realised that the family needs to be supported, I started my cloth shop so that a properly organised system can be set up. It so happened that since Emergency was enforced in 1975, we learned about the Sangh being a nationalist organisation. We learned about it because of the Emergency and started attending the ‘Shakhas’. In 1980, I became a ‘Pracharak.’ So, all these developments brought a major turn in my life. Subjects like nationalism, discipline, etc. touched my heart. And once I became a Pracharak, I kept on working whatever the organisation demanded of me and when they asked me to carry out this responsibility in the political field, I am carrying it out.
- So when did you enter active politics from Sangh?
This happened in 1994 and before that, as a Pracharak of the Sangh, I used to handle the shakhas and other work. In 1994, I was told that I will have to handle the work of the Organisational Secretary of Haryana BJP and I worked in that position till 2002. After 2002, I was given various works across the nation, which I carried out. Then in 2013, I was made the Chairman of the Election Committee for the 2014 General elections for Haryana State. In 2014, we contested a good election and eight out of ten seats went into BJP’s kitty and that very year, I was told that I have to contest the Assembly polls. Although, I had never thought of contesting from any seat, still I discussed it with my friends, supporters and well wishers, who pinpointed a few seats and National President Amit Shah told me to contest from Karnal, so I contested. Then he planned that as a Chief Minister, Manohar Lal could be the face, although there were several leaders for the position, my stand was that whatever the organisation says I will do that. So the organisation decided and I became the Chief Minister and I am now serving the people continuously.
- When did you meet Amit Shah for the first time?
It was during the 2013 election that we met. During the Lok Sabha election too he used to guide us and then after the Assembly election, the meetings increased.
- How do you rate him as a strategist?
Brilliant! Just like how as a loved leader Narendra Modi is the leader of the nation, similarly, on the strategic level, whether it is forming a strategy for elections or expanding the organisation, the work that Amit Shah ji has done, is unparalleled.
- Generally it is said that you are Narendra Modi’s find as a Chief Minister. So when did you first meet Narendra Bhai?
I met him first when he handled the work of Haryana in 1996, as he had North-Indian regions of Himachal, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh under him and I was working in Haryana. Although my very first interaction with him was in 1991, when he crossed Haryana under his ‘Tiranga Yatra’ and I was a Pracharak in the Hisar region. So when the Yatra reached Luharu, that is when I first met him, but that was a meeting of just one day. Therefore, when in 1996, he became the incharge of Haryana, since then, the touch has been constant.
- I have read that one became a Prime Minister from being a ‘Karma Yogi’ and the other became Chief Minister from a ‘Karma Yogi.’ I have heard that you two used to travel on a Scooter? Sometimes, we had to stay together since he handled four regions of North India and I had Haryana under me. Coincidentally, his centre was Panchkula and for three years, due to party work, my centre was also Panchkula, hence, it is obvious that meetings were frequent.
- You used to cook together?
Oh, he enjoyed that. When we were in Rohtak office, he used to enter the kitchen and used to ask our office boy Deepak what has he made. So he would list out what he had made and he (PM Modi) liked to make Khichdi and he made it really well like that which is prepared in Gujarat.
- During his public rally in 2014, he mentioned about Deepak also.
Yes, it was a rally in Jhajjhar. I asked him do you remember Deepak? He said yes, where is he? So, I said he is in the crowd. He immediately asked me to call Deepak on the stage and when Deepak came, he (Modi) hugged him. It was a never before-seen instance wherein, a boy that worked in the kitchen, was hugged by a person of the Prime Ministerial level.
- This is his quality. He does not forget his people. He told a journalist from Shimla that he used to interact with journalists in a cafe at Mall Road. How do you see this one-to-one connect of his?
Superb. He is always caring and worries about the personal well-being of people. When I contracted Covid-19, he came to know about it and we spoke over the phone. He told me to contact good doctors immediately and he told Dr Guleriya who then called me up and said, “Our Chief Minister has contracted Covid?” I said yes but how did you come to know. He said that Prime Minister had called him and told to speak to me. So he worries for people’s well-being. And he (PM Modi) used to call up every day and ask about my health. Later, he told me that its ‘after effects’ are also bad and one has to be extremely cautious. He told me that my weight was on the higher side and asked me to lose some. I was actually 93 kilograms and from that moment onwards, I worked on it. Although my target was to reach 80 kilograms, but even right now, I weigh around 86-87 kilograms.
- Haryana is called Jatland. Yet, a nonJat Chief Minister has been so successful and it has been eight years. The party is now gearing up for yet another five-year term. How did this become a possibility?
See, in our nation’s politics, this casteism became too dominant during the Congress rule. And not just in Haryana, I have observed that in other states too, caste politics made a huge impact. The influential castes did not let those from simple or less influential castes come forward. The entire politics used to revolve around one or two castes. But I give this credit to Prime Minister Modi, as he started working on what was the need for society and kept the casteist politics at bay, which impressed the general public. And because that happened, people, in reality, got freedom from the pressure of the influential castes and started saying that they want their own CM. I did not know, during the first tenure, that I will become the Chief Minister, but ultimately, people knew the second time around. So, during the second time too, our vote percentage in Haryana increased. In the first tenure, we were at 34 percent and the second time, we secured 37 percent votes. Yes, the number of seats did fall, but the people of Haryana kept on increasing their trust and love towards us. We also do not engage in any caste-based preference or influence any one particular community anyhow, be it Jats or non-Jats, or Punjabis, Baniyas, Brahmins or backward classes, whoever it is. Even people from Scheduled Castes that have joined us, feel that in this government, be it PM Narendra Modi’s govt at the Centre or the BJP Government in Haryana, they will get justice and no one will do injustice to them. Otherwise, people say that there were those too that used to use their power, but now people know that such a thing does not happen.
- So what do you think, will you form the government for the third time in Assembly polls next year?
See, firstly, this decision has to be taken by the people. We can’t enforce them. Secondly, we work so much for the benefit of the people that we have complete faith that the masses will choose us and why will they negate us? The people have to see their benefit at the end of the day, and we too have to work for the welfare of the masses. There is no personal benefit here. We had started the government with a resolution of working for the people. We are not those leaders or governments that used to enjoy the power of the government. We haven’t come here to enjoy that power, rather we believe that power can be a way to serve the people, which has been established by PM Modi, and us too. Otherwise, when people used to be asked about politicians, at times, they would make comments. Even a good person would feel that such is the thought of people for them. Modiji was once asked by a person that what he thought would be his biggest challenge once he becomes the Prime Minister. He replied saying that his biggest challenge would be to better the image of leaders and politicians in the minds of people. So in a sense, his remarks meant that such is the image of politicians that they must be dacoits or thieves or are engaged in corruption. Such was the image of politicians. Today, even good people are coming forward with the aim that they too want to play a role in the governance or leadership of the country. This picture changed after Modiji came to power.
- PM Modi has been successful in bettering the image of the party and politicians.
Exactly. He has achieved that target of his to a great degree. Today people say that BJP leaders have no desires of their own but rather want to work for the nation and society. The leaders in states keep the states ahead and national leaders keep the nation ahead, be it Modiji or Yogiji and the same goes for Manohar Lal.
- So you will bring the majority in poll results on your basis or will you opt for alliance?
All these depend on the situation. And at times, we have seen that even after winning the majority, several people walk together, and that too is a way of giving a strong government. And going about on your own is also a way to move ahead. See, there are many political parties in this country and this doesn’t mean that if one party forms a government, all others become its opponent. When there are parties that have the same sort of ideologies, then they move together. Today BJP has the full majority, but we have other parties in NDA. In 1980, when the election was contested under the leadership of Choudhary Devilalji, the party alliance won 80 seats, of which, we had only 18. Devilalji had 62 seats of his own and only 45 seats were needed for the majority and yet we walked together till 1991. TO BE CONTINUED…
During the show #JCWithManoharLal trended top All-India on Twitter