Haryana Assembly polls: Let Ajay spell out what he wants, says Abhay Chautala

Varinder Bhatia
Abhay and Ajay Chautala at Haryana Vidhan Sabha in 2012. (File)

With Haryana Vidhan Sabha polls likely to be notified anytime soon, the possibility of rapprochement within the feuding factions of the Chautala clan are fading, especially after Dushyant Chautala led Jannayak Janata Party announced that it will contest all 90 Assembly seats and declared names of seven candidates too.

The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), the parent party, too has begun looking for candidates and finalising their list. An ugly family feud within the Chautala family had led to a vertical split in the INLD, a party founded by former deputy prime minister Chaudhary Devi Lal. Party chief and former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala in November last year expelled his two grandsons – then Hisar MP Dushyant and youth leader Digvijay Chautala, both sons of his elder son Ajay Chautala. Dushyant and Ajya then went on to to form the JJP.

Ajay s younger brother Abhay Chautala is the secretary general of the INLD. Ever since the split, both the INLD and JJP have failed to make any substantial mark on the state s political scenario.

Various Khaps (caste councils) had been making persistent efforts to reunite the family. The brothers Abhay and Ajay have lately started showing signs of softening their stance against each other, at least on the family front. But as far as politics is concerned, the differences between the two factions refuse to reduce.

Our stand has always been soft for them. We never ousted them. Rather they created indiscipline within the party in presence of Chaudhary Om Prakash Chautala. They did not have any answer to that indiscipline. They had their motives of breaking the party, which they achieved, Abhay told The Indian Express, in an apparent reference to nephew Dushyant.

Talking on possibilities of a patch-up between the INLD and JJP ahead of the state elections, Abhay asked, What do they want? At least they should say it. Whatever Ajay wants, he should come and at least say it to me. Khaps approached me and them also. I have always respected the public opinion. I told Khaps that whatever decision they take, I will accept it. What more can I say? But it appears that they (Dushyant and his supporters) have rather shown disrespect to Khaps as well and have not clarified their stance .

Dushyant, recently said in Sirsa that although as a family they are together , but there were certain political differences . Dushyant had further said that he respects Khaps sentiments but will wait for his father Ajay to take a call. Ajay is currently serving a 10-year imprisonment on corruption charges in infamous JBT teachers recruitment scam. He has applied for a furlough.

A number of Khap representatives led by Ramesh Dalal, who is also Haryana Self Respect Movement s president, had held series of meetings, approached both Abhay and Ajay s families and supporters attempting a reconciliation. However, he failed to get any favourable response from Dushyant s side.

Talking to The Indian Express, Dushyant said, Ramesh Dalal is a general secretary of INLD. I do not know what are his reasons behind being this desperate for seeking a reconciliation within our family. I have told him that we should wait for Ajay Chautala ji to come out of jail and whatever decision he takes, we will accept it .

Dushyant also disclosed that after coming out of jail, Ajay is scheduled to meet Om Prakash Chautala and Shiromani Akali Dal patriarch Parkash Singh Badal. Abhay is also expected to be called for the meeting and a last ditch reconciliation attempt is likely to be made by Badal.
However, Abhay refused to make any comment on the possible meeting between him and Ajay in the presence of Badal.

Vidhan Sabha polls in Haryana are due next month. The Election Commission is likely to impose Model Code of Conduct, this week. After winning all 10 parliamentary seats with thumping margins in 2019 Lok Sabha polls this year, the ruling BJP in Haryana is riding high. However, the opposition in the state politics appears to be marred with infighting and uncertainties.

Mass-desertions by number of its leaders including incumbent and former MLAs, party s state unit president Ashok Arora and others have severely impacted INLD s future prospects. As a result of split within the party, INLD slipped from a over 24 per cent vote share in 2014 Lok Sabha polls to a barely 1.8 per cent in 2019 Lok Sabha polls with all its candidates failing to even save their security deposits.

Even JJP leaders including Dushyant, who had won 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Hisar as INLD s candidate, lost to an IAS-turned-politician Brijendra Singh. JJP s another youth leader and Dushyant s younger brother Digvijay too failed to score on his debut in state politics when he lost to BJP s Krishan Lal Middha in Jind bypolls in January this year