At a time when the dynasty politics of the arguably mightiest among the three Lals of Haryana, could flourish, the circumstances against the Devi Lal’s clan could not have been worse ahead of the ensuing assembly elections.
While former deputy prime minister Devi Lal (September 16, 1914-April 6, 2001), is no more, his son and political heir, Indian National Lok Dal supremo and former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and the latter’s elder son Ajay Chautala are in jail in connection with the JBT recruitment case.
Yet, with zeal and cadre support, Lal’s fourth generation Dushyant Chautala (26) has become country’s youngest member of Parliament by winning from Hisar in the recently held Lok Sabha polls.
Devi Lal’s son Om Prakash Chautala is an MLA from Uchana Kalan and the latter’s two sons, Ajay Chautala is MLA from Dabwali and Abhay Chautala is Ellenabad legislator. Dushyant is the eldest son of Ajay. Dushyant’s younger brother is national president of the student wing of the INLD, while Abhay’s sons Karan and Arjun are also active in politics.
Devi Lal’s other sons Ranjit and Partap had also been active in politics. His other son Jagdish’s sons Aditya and Anirudh Chautala have recently joined the BJP. Ranjit is in the Congress.
Devi Lal remained chief minister in 1977-79, 1987, 1989 and became deputy prime minister of the country from 1989-91 in the VP Singh and Chandra Shekhar governments. Popularly known as “Tau”, Devi Lal was known to be farmers’ leader who made farmers his vote bank with various populist measures such as waiver of their debt. After Devi Lal’s death, his elder son Om Prakash Chautala took over the reins of the party.
Founder of the Indian National Lok Dal, Devi Lal remained MP from 1980-82 and was a member of the Haryana assembly between 1982 and 1987. Earlier, he formed Lok Dal and started “Nyaya Yuddh” (battle for justice) under the aegis of Haryana Sangharsh Samiti. In the 1987 Haryana assembly polls, the alliance led by Devi Lal won a record 85 seats in the 90-member House. He became the chief minister for second time and interestingly, in 1989, he was elected MP from Sikar (Rajasthan) and Rohtak.
Om Prakash Chautala (79) has been the chief minister of Haryana five times from December 2, 1989 to May 2, 1990; July 12, 1990 to July 17, 1990; again from March 22, 1991 to April 5, 1991; July 24, 1999 to March 2, 2000 and from March 2, 2000 to March 4, 2005 and had had a truck with the NDA at the Centre.
However, it was in June 2008 that Om Prakash Chautala, his son Ajay and 52 others were charged in connection with the appointment of 3,206 junior basic teachers (JBTs) in the state during 1999-2000. A New Delhi court sentenced them to 10 years’ imprisonment in January 2013. A CBI probe was ordered by the Supreme Court during the NDA rule, while on July 11, 2014, the Delhi high court reserved its verdict in regard to the appeal by the Chautalas.
TOMORROW: BANSI LAL CLAN