“His Name Was On Ministers’ List”: ML Khattar As Anil Vij Skips Nayab Singh’s Oath


BJP leader Anil Vij, on Tuesday skipped Haryana Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini’s swearing-in ceremony where, according to the outgoing Chief Minister M L Khattar, he would also have been inducted in the cabinet.

Earlier in the day, former home minister Vij had walked out of the BJP legislature party meeting, in which Mr Saini was elected as the leader, in a huff.

Speaking to reporters, former chief minister Khattar, when asked whether Vij’s name was there in the race for the post of a deputy chief minister, said, “Ministers had to take oath today and his (Vij’s) name was on that (list). But he could not come.”

Asked whether Mr Vij was upset, he said, “Anil Vij is our senior colleague… He sometimes gets upset easily, but he becomes normal later.”

In the past too, there have been many incidents when Mr Vij got upset over something but later on things were normal, said Mr Khattar.

“I spoke with him. He said he did not feel like coming (for the oath-taking event). We will speak to him. Nayab Saini ji will also speak to him,” he added.

Mr Saini was sworn in as the chief minister replacing BJP strongman Khattar. The development to bring in a new face as the chief minister by the BJP came just weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Mr Khattar’s second term as chief minister was to end in October, when the assembly polls are due.

Mr Vij was learnt to be upset as the party decided to elevate Mr Saini, ignoring the Ambala Cantt MLA.

Mr Vij was not present at the oath-taking ceremony and after the BJP legislature meeting here, he headed straight to his Ambala residence in a private vehicle.

Emerging out of the BJP’s meeting in Haryana Niwas before Mr Saini’s oath-taking ceremony, when asked what transpired in the meeting, Mr Vij evaded a direct reply, saying “batane wale batayenge“. “Those who have come from Delhi will tell,” said Mr Vij as he was seen leaving in a huff.

Later, pictures from his Ambala Cantt residence showed him playing with a child.

Notably, in 2014 too, when Mr Vij was among the frontrunners for the post of chief minister after the BJP came to power on its own strength in Haryana, the party chose first-time MLA Khattar for the post.

Mr Vij, who also held the health portfolio in the outgoing Khattar cabinet, had in the past too expressed displeasure over many things.

A few months back, Mr Vij had expressed displeasure over interference in his department by officials of the Chief Minister’s Office and has stopped clearing files for the last one month.

In August, Mr Vij had denied having any intelligence input on a possible build-up of tension in Nuh which witnessed communal violence, and had said Khattar could give updates on the issue given he has “all the information”.

Nearly three years ago, after a tug-of-war with Khattar over the control of CID, Mr Vij was stripped of charge of the department, and was later allocated to the chief minister.

Mr Vij, a six-time MLA, had then maintained that the chief minister was supreme and he could take away or divide any department.

Over a year and a half back, when Khattar expanded his cabinet, Vij was divested of the urban local bodies department, which was given to BJP’s Hisar MLA Kamal Gupta.

In February 2015, less than three months after the BJP came to power in Haryana for the first time on its own, Vij — who then held the health and sports departments — had taken a veiled dig at Khattar on X, posting, “Thank you chief minister for taking a keen interest in my departments. I’m relaxed.” Vij was then apparently upset with Khattar who had launched a number of programmes and schemes pertaining to departments handled by him.

Mr Vij was among the frontrunners for the chief minister’s post after the BJP’s win in the 2014 Haryana assembly polls. Mr Khattar, then a first-time MLA, had emerged as the party’s choice for the top post.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)