Haryana was on the boil for most part of 2016 due to the Jat quota stir, but Sakshi Malik’s Olympic win, the SYL issue and improvement in gender ratio brought cheers to the state, which completed 50 years of its existence.
Congress and principal opposition INLD kept up the attack on the government over its alleged failure on issues related to power, farmers, employees, law and order and governance with prominent leaders including former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Kiran Chowdhury, Ashok Tanwar and Abhay Singh Chautala leading the charge.
With 24-year-old Sakshi, the girl from Rohtak, making the country proud by winning a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics in wrestling, the Khattar government gave her a cheque of Rs 2.5 crore. Besides, she was also made the state’s brand ambassador of Narendra Modi government’s flagship ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao‘ programme.
Weeks later, 46-year-old Deepa Malik became the first Indian woman athlete to win a medal at the Paralympics in Rio and on “Haryana Day” on November 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi felicitated her at a function in Gurgaon with a cash award of Rs 4 crore.
The state remained committed to give further boost to sports, with Health and Sports Minister Anil Vij promising to have facilities set up in villages.
However, it was the Jat quota stir which kept the government on tenterhooks. Large-scale violence during the agitation in the state claimed 30 lives and caused huge damage to property as well.
The violent turn to the Jat stir came barely weeks before the BJP government was to hold its first-ever mega global investor summit meet in Gurgaon in March.
Rattled by widespread violence and mounting Opposition attack, the state government appointed a committee under the chairmanship of a retired IPS officer, whose report in May stated around 90 officers including IAS and IPS officers were found indulging in “deliberate negligence” during the agitation, whose major impact was in Rohtak, Jhajjar and Sonipat districts.
Many heads rolled as the Khattar government got into damage control mode and in mid-May it ordered judicial inquiry to probe the conspiracy behind the incidents which pushed the state into unprecedented “turmoil”.
In March end, Haryana Assembly unanimously passed a bill to provide reservation to Jats and five other communities in government jobs and educational institutions, but two months later the Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the reservation while hearing a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the act.
Turning up the heat on two-time former chief minister Hooda, the State Vigilance Bureau registered a case of cheating and corruption against the then chairman of Haryana Urban Development Authority and some HUDA officials for illegally re-allotting a plot to Associated Journals Limited (AJL) in Panchkula in 2005. .