The principal opposition party in Haryana, the Indian National Lok Dal is in a state of struggle like never before. While its top leaders are in jail and some of its MLAs have switched loyalties, the party has attracted some leaders from other parties ahead of the assembly elections.
While the INLD supremo and former five-time chief minister, Om Prakash Chautala and his elder son Ajay Chautala are in jail in connection with the Junior Basic Teachers’ (JBT) recruitment case since last year, several party leaders, including sitting MLA from Israna, Krishan Panwar, sitting MLA from Rania, Krishan Kamboj and Balbir Saini, who had recently contested the Lok Sabha election from Kurukshetra, have hopped over to the BJP.
Though it was probably the first time that so many leaders had parted ways with the INLD, it is also unprecedented that several leaders of the Congress and others have joined the principal opposition party. Besides four-time Congress MP from Faridabad, Avtar Bhadana, former Congress ministers Attar Saini and Hari Singh Saini and Kulbir Beniwal have joined the INLD, after the Lok Sabha polls.
It was in the recent LS elections that fourth generation leader from Devi Lal’s family, Dushyant Chautala (26) emerged victorious and became country’s youngest member of Parliament from Hisar and also, the INLD won Sirsa LS seat without an alliance.
Interestingly enough, it was without any alliance that the INLD won 31 assembly seats, BJP (4), Haryana Janhit Congress (6) and Congress (40) seats in the 2009 assembly polls. It was a thumping comeback for the INLD after losing all the 10 Lok Sabha seats in 2009.
It is not just at the election time that the INLD is at play; the party has remained at work to keep the ruling Congress on its toes with or without Chautala seniors. Om Prakash Chautala’s younger son Abhay Chautala, MLA from Ellenabad, along with state party president Ashok Arora led the party from front to consistently put pressure on the government.
It also released CDs made from its own sting operations, of one Congress minister, two chief parliamentary secretaries and four MLAs showing them allegedly seeking huge amount of money from some persons in lieu of getting them change of land use (CLU) permissions. The INLD also filed these complaints with the Haryana Lokayukta whose decision on the matter is awaited.
The INLD members also rocked the Haryana Vidhan Sabha in all the sessions with allegations of corruption and favouritism against the treasury benches, though they were often named and suspended for the sessions.