In the absence of their jailed leaders including party president Om Prakash Chautala, main opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) is gearing up to take on the Haryana government on various issues during the Budget Session of the state assembly starting Friday.
Going by the strategy drawn by opposition leaders, the ruling Congress may not be able to breathe easy as INLD is likely to target the Hooda government on a host of issues.
These include the DLF-Robert Vadra land deal issue, alleged misuse of the CBI by Congress to target political opponents, deterioration in law and order and increasing cases of crime against women.
Power and water problem, allegations of discrimination in development and certain serious cases against some MLAs supporting the state government are among other issues that the opposition plans to raise forcefully.
The INLD may have been rendered headless as former chief minister Chautala and his MLA-son Ajay Singh Chautala are lodged in Tihar Jail in Delhi after they were among those convicted and sentenced by a Delhi court recently in a teachers' recruitment scam in Haryana in 2000, but that does not seem to have dampened their spirits.
In the absence of the two leaders, senior Chautala's younger son Abhay Singh, INLD state unit chief Ashok Arora and other leaders have been holding numerous public meetings across the state to target the Congress on various fronts.
Admitting that there cannot be a parallel or substitute for Chautala senior and Ajay Singh, a senior INLD leader, however, said there was no dearth of second-rung leaders in the party who can deliver the goods.
"Despite the odds, our Ellenabad MLA Abhay Singh is doing a good job. Ashok Arora is an experienced hand and besides being a former minister, he has served as the Assembly Speaker earlier," he said.
He also indicated that the Chautalas may move the court for permission to attend the Assembly session. "The conviction has not affected their current status (as MLAs) and they can be allowed to attend the House proceedings," he contended.