- ML Khattar government rebuked by court over fallout of Ram Rahim verdict
- But centre clears Khattar of any blame, BJP also rules out any punishment
- Khattar picked by PM, Amit Shah to lead Haryana's first BJP government
But the ruling BJP has emphatically ruled out any leadership change amid clear signs that Mr Khattar and his government faltered once again on crisis management.
There was "no suggestion" that Mr Khattar should be removed, a top BJP source told NDTV, asserting: "We never remove anyone without hearing from them."
The centre reinforced the view after a meeting called by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi told reporters: "In this ongoing situation we can't blame anyone."
The clean chit for the Khattar government appears to be based on a line of defence that targets a court in Panchkula for not heeding warnings about trouble from Ram Rahim's followers.
Top sources said five days before the Ram Rahim verdict, a government emissary had been sent to meet the judge.
Mr Khattar had yesterday acknowledged that there were lapses "that shouldn't have happened". The "lapses have been identified and we are taking appropriate steps," he said.
But in another statement, he also appeared to shield Ram Rahim's followers as he said "miscreants" had infiltrated the crowd of Dera Sacha Sauda devotees.
A first-time lawmaker handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah to lead Haryana's first BJP government in 2014, Mr Khattar has confronted doubts about his leadership in the past. In 2014, five women and a child were killed in a clash when the police went to arrest another self-professed "godman" Rampal in Hisar. Last year, 30 people were killed in Haryana during violent protests by Jats, who were demanding a greater share of quotas in government jobs and education. In both instances, Mr Khattar was accused of allowing a build-up of unruly elements.