60-year-old Khattar, who once wanted to become a doctor, is a man known for his organisational skills. He enjoys a clean image and is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with whom he has worked in the past.
Khattar, who is a bachelor and a first-time MLA, has worked for almost 40 years as an Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak.
Known for his political acumen, he played the role of a master strategist and successfully led many electoral campaigns for his party, the latest being the 2014 Parliamentary elections in Haryana as Chairman of Election Campaign Committee.
It was in 1996, that Manohar Lal started working with Modi, who was then in charge of Haryana. In 2002, Manohar Lal was given the charge of Jammu and Kashmir as the State’s Election in-charge.
Notably, Modi started his election campaign for the 2014 Haryana Assembly polls by addressing his first rally on October 4 at Karnal, the constituency from where Khattar recorded an emphatic win.
Coming from a humble agricultural background, his family arrived in Haryana from Pakistan post-partition.
They settled at Nindana, a village situated in Haryana’s Rohtak district. To survive, his father and grandfather took up odd jobs as labourers, finally saving enough to start a small shop. It was in Nindana that Manohar Lal was born in 1954.
Khattar joined RSS as a full-time Pracharak in 1980 and after 14 years of service to the Sangh, moved to the BJP and placed at the helm as party general secretary in Haryana in 1994.
In 1996, BJP allied with Bansi Lal’s Haryana Vikas Party (which later merged with Congress) to form the government in the state. However, when he noticed that the alliance was “proving costly” for the party and the government had become unpopular, he favoured withdrawal of support.
BJP then decided to provide outside support to Om Prakash Chautala. Later, this coalition with INLD won all 10 seats in the 1999 parliamentary elections in Haryana, a better outcome than 2 out of 10 seats they had secured in 1998.
His tenure as party general secretary established him as a strategist, an able and firm handed administrator,
and a man who had a keen sense of the state’s politics.
In the aftermath of the Bhuj earthquake, Khattar was called upon to manage the elections in Kutch district by Modi and the BJP secured three out of six seats.
The first elections held in the then newly created state of Chhattisgarh also saw Khattar’s contribution to the party’s position. He worked in Bastar which was a traditionally Congress-voting area and won 10 out of 12 seats – thus playing a decisive role in bringing BJP to power in the state.
Apart from his crucial role in the party’s success in states like Punjab, Haryana and Chhattisgarh, he was given prominent roles in various elections in different states where he always delivered results.
For the Lok Sabha elections of 2014, Khattar was appointed the Chairman of Election Campaign Committee (Haryana) contributing to the party’s thumping success in which it won seven of the eight seats it contested from.
Khattar also headed the Antyodaya Yojana for BJP nationally.
In 2002, Manohar Lal was given the charge of Jammu and Kashmir as the State’s Election in-charge.
Apart from his crucial role in the party’s success in states like Punjab, Haryana and Chhattisgarh, Manohar Lal was given prominent roles in various elections in different states where he delivered results.
In 2004, Manohar Lal found himself in charge of 12 states, including Delhi and Rajasthan. He then worked under the leadership of RSS ideologue Bal Apte (Balasaheb Apte), who was then heading the Chunaav Sahayak Yojana.
Immediately thereafter he was entrusted with the responsibility as Regional Sangathan Mahamantri for five states – Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh. His tenure saw several successes for the party in these states, underlining Manohar Lal’s decision making skills.
During this time, BJP won 11 seats for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir.
Khattar’s aim is to build a unique Haryana that leads in various fields – acknowledged not only nationally but internationally.
All throughout the election campaign, he was confident that people of Haryana will vote in large numbers and form a BJP government.
“We will work very hard to ensure good governance and development for all,” he had said earlier, adding that there was a need to adopt a multi-pronged approach for Haryana’s development-assisting farmers while developing industries and creating jobs in the State.
Starting school at the age of
six, Khattar was at the forefront of all debates, discussions and school activities, and also excelled in academics.
Keen to pursue a medical degree, he wanted to take up higher studies despite his father’s opposition to it.
He borrowed money from his mother and enrolled himself in Rohtak’s Neki Ram Sharma Government College and become the first member of his family to study beyond Class X.
To prepare for entrance tests to gain entry in medical colleges, Manohar Lal made his way to Delhi, initiating a chain of events that was to transform his life.
Staying with relatives in Delhi who ran a very successful cloth business, he began to question his decision to study for seven to nine years before being able to practice as a doctor.
His mind turned to business and he then borrowed money from his family to open a shop near Sadar Bazaar. Hard work showed results, and the shop proved to be a successful enture.
Khattar returned the borrowed money to his parents, got his younger sister married, and called his two siblings to Delhi.
His life was set for another turn. The Emergency was imposed in 1975, and lasted for the next two years. At the age of 21, for the first time, Manohar Lal found himself paying attention to politics.
He first came into contact with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which he joined in 1977.In January 1979, he had an opportunity to attend a large congregation of Vishva Hindu Parishad at Prayag (Allahabad).
Over there, he interacted with numerous learned saints and various intellectuals at the Kumbh Mela.
A visit to Triveni Sangam in Allahabad was a turning point of his life. It was here that he thought that life should not revolve around the self. He consequently decided that he would dedicate his life to the country.