In an indication of a possible tie-up ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha and assembly elections, BJP president Rajnath Singh called on ailing Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) chief Om Prakash Chautala at a hospital in New Delhi on Thursday.
INLD sources said the two leaders discussed possible steps to renew the alliance in Haryana.
The two parties had parted ways in 2009 just ahead of assembly elections and few months after contesting the Lok Sabha polls together in which they faced a total rout.
During the 45-minute meeting at Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia hospital where the 78-year-old former Haryana chief minister is admitted for treatment, Chautala is understood to have told Singh and his colleague Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi that his party was ready to align with the BJP provided it dumps the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) of Kuldeep Bishnoi, son of another former chief minister Bhajan Lal.
The political rivalry and enmity between Chautalas and Kuldeep’s family is well-known and goes back to generations.
The thinking in the Chautala camp is that if the INLD and the BJP come together and fight the coming elections in alliance, they will hand over a “crushing defeat” to the ruling Congress.
The INLD, which had defied all predictions in 2009 by winning 31 seats in the assembly polls after drawing a blank in parliamentary elections, is sensing a victory this time.
Its leaders argue that the Congress is facing 10-year strong anti-incumbency wave and the people were looking for a change.
The party is also banking on sympathy votes, especially among rural Jats, in the wake of its leaders – Om Prakash Chautala and his son Ajay Chautala– serving a 10-year jail term in the teachers’ recruitment scam of 2000. “BJP’s non-Jat vote-bank will definitely tilt the balance in our favour,” a senior INLD leader said.