In absence of his father Om Prakash Chautala and elder brother Ajay Chautala, Abhay Chautala, 53, is guarding the Indian National Lok Dal fort almost single-handedly. He has been travelling the length and breadth of the state in support of party candidates. HT talked to the sitting Ellenabad MLA on a number of issues. Excerpts:
HT: Do you feel the absence of your father Om Parkash Chautala and brother Ajay Chautala, especially during elections for their guidance?
Abhay: Not only me but all the party workers feel the absence of both leaders. Every single person of the party is closely attached with Om Parkash Chautala. The JBT recruitment case was a political conspiracy against my father and brother. My father didn’t give jobs to his relatives and there was no exchange of money. The jail term of 10 years on the basis of false allegations is prejudiced. A common Haryanvi is upset with this judgment.
In absence of the senior leaders, inexperienced young blood of your family has taken charge. Does that help?
Dushyant, Digvijay, Karan and Arjun Chautala were students when they decided to join the party activities. Dushyant came back to India after completing his study in America, while Karan and Digvijay were pursuing BBA and LLB, respectively. They left their studies in the middle and came back to India for the sake of the party. However, the family wanted them to complete their studies, but they realised their responsibility towards the party and pitched in. This makes me proud that they have been doing very well.
How did you resurrect the demoralised workers and leaders in absence of top leadership?
Today every worker is filled with enthusiasm. They are working with more zeal to make the party win. This is because Om Parkash Chautala had always given party workers respect. I, along with some senior leaders of the party, including Ashok Arora and Rampal, have been going to Tihar jail to meet and take guidance on party matters from my father and brother. The party is still being led by Om Prakash Chautala and INLD has now 3.5 lakh booth workers across the state.
Shiromani Akali Dal has BJP as an ally in Punjab and in Haryana, Badals are supporting INLD. Doesn’t that confuse voters?
First of all, the relation between Chautala and Badal families is three-generations old. Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal is campaigning for us as he thinks it is his responsibility. We have alliance with SAD in Haryana and SAD has an alliance with BJP in Punjab. There is no confusion.
Do you really want to see Narendra Modi become PM?
Definitely. Right from the day BJP announced Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate, INLD decided that it would support Modi without any condition at the Centre.
A letter written by Om Parkash Chuatala was distributed among the voters across the state. What was the agenda in the letter?
It was a massage to every citizen of Haryana that the government used state owned agencies to send them to jail under a conspiracy.
Most of the political parties are indulging in divisive politics. How is INLD different?
‘Divide and rule’ is a cheap tactic and we don’t believe in it. We are here to serve the people and not to divide them. INLD is an alliance of 36 communities in the state, party treat every person equally and we are doing the politics based on development. But this time, the people are desperate for a change and their only hope is INLD.