An unfazed Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday ruled out his resignation after meeting BJP chief Amit Shah, saying that his government had acted with “restraint” and he was satisfied with its work.
There will not be any change (in leadership), he told reporters after submitting a report to Shah on the violence in Haryana following the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh last week.
Khattar was responding to a query on speculation that the BJP top brass might replace him amid the opposition’s charge that his government mishandled the Dera episode, resulting in large-scale violence.
At least 38 people were killed, mostly in police firing.
He said his government had acted with “restraint” as its first target was to ensure that the self-styled godman appeared before the court in Panchkula in Haryana.
The BJP government has been accused of mishandling the matter by allowing lakhs of dera followers to assemble in Panchkula before the Dera chief was to be sentenced, sparking a wave of violence following his conviction of rape.
Justifying his government’s action, Khattar said had something happened before the controversial sect head appeared before the special CBI court on August 25, Gurmeet Singh might have used that as an “excuse” for not turning up in court.
“We acted with restraint. We achieved our aim,” he said.
Asked about the demand for his resignation, he shot back, “Anybody can say anything… We are satisfied with our work. Whatever we did was right. There will be no change.”
“But there is never a condition for such support that somebody breaks the law. Nobody is above the law,” he said, claiming that his government had no deal with the Dera chief, as was being alleged.
The force used by the state police was minimal, he said, adding that it also showed no laxity against those indulging in violence.
He also rejected reports of a “VIP treatment” given to the Dera head after he was convicted, saying he was temporarily put up in a guest house as arrangements were being made in the jail.
Convicted of raping two of his women followers, the Dera chief was on Monday sentenced to 20 years in jail.