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Khattar not to face the axe

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Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar met BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi on Wednesday, and said his government had taken adequate action in the aftermath of the violence that broke out after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted of rape.

Speaking to presspersons, he denied that he was to be sacked after 32 people were killed in police firing.

The Opposition Congress has been demanding the Chief Minister’s resignation.

“Those demanding my resignation may keep demanding it; we have done our work well,” Mr. Khattar said after meeting Mr. Shah.

Party support

It seemed clear that Mr. Khattar came out of the meeting assured of the BJP’s support to him in the face of the demand for his resignation. “We have put systems in place so that these kind of situations can be dealt with,” he told presspersons.

Asked if he would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well, he said he had submitted his report to Mr. Shah. “We [the BJP] have a system where we brief the national president. He can share it with whoever he feels he should share,” he said.

Sources said the report given to Mr. Shah detailed the administrative action taken by the State government in the aftermath of the verdict.

He denied that any BJP MLA or Minister had accompanied the Dera chief to court or to jail after his conviction.

He did not deny, however, that the party had sought Mr. Singh’s support in the previous Assembly elections in Haryana following which he was appointment Chief Minister.

“We appeal to all voters during the elections for their support, but nowhere is it implied that anyone is above the law. No one is above the law,” he said.

Mr. Khattar said his government’s “target” was to make sure that the Dera chief appeared before the special CBI court for his sentencing.

“We were clear in our target that we wanted him to appear before the court …we didn’t want him to find any excuse not to appear,” he said.

No deal with Dera

He denied there was any “deal” between the State government and the Dera chief, a fact, he said, made clear by the fact that the government created a situation where the Dera chief presented himself before the judge.

“None of my MLAs were with the Baba. Those who met him earlier may have done so, but not on the day that he appeared before the court. No VIP treatment was given to him; he was moved to the rest house till such time as arrangements in the jail were being made, after which he was shifted to the jail,” Mr. Khattar said.

Mr. Khattar seems to have survived a second chance after he was called to account in his handling of the violence related to the Jat agitation in February 2016.

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