UNRAVELLING HARYANA: A JOURNEY THROUGH POLITICS AND LEADERSHIP

UNRAVELLING HARYANA: A JOURNEY THROUGH POLITICS, ISSUES, ECONOMY AND LEADERSHIP.
UNRAVELLING HARYANA: A JOURNEY THROUGH POLITICS AND LEADERSHIP

Haryana, a northern state in India, is a tale of historical and political evolution, growth and development. It has a rich and diverse culture that reflects the amalgamation of tradition, modernity, and regionalism. Haryana's political landscape is a fascinating tapestry of historical legacies and caste dynamics. At the helm of its affairs stands Manohar Lal Khattar, the current Chief Minister of Haryana. Born on May 5, 1954, in the Rohtak district of Haryana, he began his career as a full-time RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) pracharak and dedicated over four decades to the organization. He decided to remain unmarried to devote all his time on working for RSS. Khattar's association with the RSS laid the foundation for his political journey in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In the initial years of Haryana’s existence, the Indian National Congress enjoyed significant dominance in the state’s politics. Bhajan Lal, a prominent leader emerged as a key political figure during 1970s and 1980s. Overtime, regional parties started gaining prominence, challenging the dominance of national parties like the Congress. Among these, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Haryana Janhit Congress were two significant regional parties. As a result, coalition governments became more common in Haryana, as no single party could secure an absolute majority in the elections. These coalition governments saw alliances between national and regional parties, reflecting the complexity of Haryana’s political landscapes.

Manohar Lal Khattar's entry into electoral politics marked a turning point in his career. He joined the BJP in 1994 and actively worked at the grassroots level to strengthen the party's presence in Haryana, leading to his appointment as the Haryana BJP President in 2014. Finally, in 2014, under the leadership of Manohar Lal Khattar, the BJP achieved a historic victory in the Haryana Assembly elections. The party secured a majority on its own for the first time in Haryana's political history.

After the Shah Commission recommendations, the journey of being a part of Punjab to becoming an independent state in 1966 has played a vital role in shaping its political culture. Historically, Haryana had been deeply entrenched in caste-based politics, with communities vying for political representation and resources. The state is home to various dominant castes, including Jats, Punjabis, and non-Jat communities. The Jats, being the largest and politically influential group, have historically held significant sway over Haryana's politics. However, this dominance has also led to tensions and conflicts with other communities This historical legacy of caste divisions still persists in contemporary times, leading to identity politics and competition for power among different castes.

 The main driver of Haryana’s Economic Development was “Agriculture” since 1950s. It is often referred to as the "Land of Milk and Butter”, as it has made remarkable progress in the growth of dairy sector over years. The state’s favourable climate, availability of fodder and suitable breed of cattle have provided a conducive environment for Dairy Farming. It has seen tremendous increase of cropping intensity and net irrigated area too. It was a major player in Green Revolution, making India, a food surplus nation. Aftermath, it experienced some negative impacts too like groundwater depletion, soil depletion, stagnation of major crops, etc. but it actually did what was necessary and required in short period of time. Haryana, being a small state comprises of 1.5% of India’s total area. But surprisingly it contributes upto 15% of total agriculture produce.

 Haryana has been witnessing steady economic growth and industrial progress in recent times because the state governments have been instrumental in imposing autonomous industrial policies. Taking the advantage of close proximity with Delhi, the state has pursued Industrial policies; Faridabad and Gurugram have emerged as commercial and business hubs. This all started when Maruti chose Gurugram for its car manufacturing plant in 1982. Sugar mills and Paper mills situated in Yamunanagar has emerged as one of the most prominent industry in Asia. Panipat Refinery is one of the India’s most important and modern public sector refinery. Panchkula is also emerging as a BPO hub, IT park and Nano city. The GDP is on the rise and is expected to rise at 15-16%. It has increased the manufacturing and exports of electric machinery and equipment catering to production of 2/3rd of cars, 50% of tractors, 60% of motorcycles, and 50% of refrigerators produced in India. To accommodate the growing urban population and cater to the needs of businesses, Haryana has been focusing on infrastructural development. Several infrastructure projects, including road expansions, flyovers, and smart city initiatives, are in progress to enhance connectivity and provide better amenities to residents. Additionally, the state government's commitment to improving public transport and addressing traffic congestion is gaining momentum.

It will not be an exaggeration if we call Haryana as the “Sports capital of India” by carving a unique identity for itself. In the Indian contingent, out of 127 sportspersons, 31 were from Haryana. Maximum numbers of medals were from Haryana in Rio Olympics as compared to other states. Wrestling as a Sport is deeply rooted in “Dangal” culture of Haryana. H.P. coach Vijay Thakur quoted, “Haryana is far ahead of other states in term of sports culture and it may take nearly two decades for others to catch up with Haryana”.

Haryana, which has just emerged as India’s 2nd highest per capita income state with 100% rural electrification is still not a perfect model for other states because of huge disparities and bad performance on various socio parameters. Thus, leading to an issue where the growth is limited to few pockets with a lot of disparities. Quoting few, Gurugram with the per capita income of about 4.16 lakh per annum, as compared to Faridabad having just 1.6 lakh per annum cites a shocking scenario. Mewat which is so close to Gurugram only has just 45 thousand per annum.

According to CMIE study, Haryana has the highest unemployment rate in India among all the states. One of the primary reasons is the mismatch between the education and the skills possessed by the youth and the demands of the job market. Haryana Government have lined up some of the schemes that are focussing primarily on this issue like “Saksham scheme”, “Saksham Yuva scheme”, “Haryana Skill Development Mission”, etc.

Sex ratio of Haryana has always been a grave concern for the state. As of Census 2011, it has been 833 per 1000 males, which is the worst among all states exhibiting the patriarchal mind sets. To name a few, it is mainly due to districts like Kaithal, Jhajjar, Palwal, Sonipat, etc. A report by National Crime Records Bureau states that “Haryana is among the worst performing state in gang rapes, female foeticides, and women trafficking”. Crime against women has gone up by 27% as compared to last year. Out of 1674 kidnapping cases of women only 206 were reported by their families which come as an eye-opener and shows their level of ignorance. However, one of the notable aspects of Khattar's governance has been his emphasis on women's empowerment and safety. The "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao", “Apni Beti Apni Dhan”, “Ladli Scheme”  have been actively promoted to address issues related to the skewed sex ratio and promote girls' education in the state. Efforts have also been made to enhance women's safety and security through the establishment of women police stations and the deployment of women personnel in public transport.

Manohar Lal Khattar's journey from a humble RSS pracharak to becoming the Chief Minister of Haryana is a testament to his dedication and political acumen. Under his leadership, Haryana has witnessed a mix of achievements and challenges, with a focus on development and governance. As the current Chief Minister, Khattar continues to steer the state towards progress, seeking to address the concerns of its people and pave the way for a brighter future for Haryana. However, like any political leader, his success will ultimately be judged by the impact of his policies on the lives of the citizens he serves.

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