Alarm bells start ringing for Dushyant as unrest brews in JJP
The legislators of the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), BJP’s junior coalition partner, are visibly restive.
Close on the heels of JJP’s Narnaund MLA Ram Kumar Gautam, who had defeated former finance minister Captain Abhimanyu, taking pot shots at his boss and deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala, another giant killer and Tohana MLA Devender Singh Babli has dragged the state government into the dock by raising the bogey of corruption in governance.
Having won 40 seats and short of six MLAs to cross the magical halfway mark, the BJP had emerged as the single largest party in October 2019 assembly elections. Due to the split verdict, the saffron party had to form the government in an alliance with the support of JJP’s 10 MLAs.
As part of this deal, the first-time MLA and former Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala became deputy CM. Another JJP MLA Anoop Dhanak, who represents Uklana segment, was sworn in as minister of state.
And for the MLAs like Gautam, who was sure to be rewarded, Dushyant’s decision was disappointing.
At the heart of yet another ‘heart burn’ among the JJP lawmakers is the eyebrow-raising move of Dushyant, who gave a trivial archaeology and museum, and labour and employment portfolio to Dhanak and kept 10 plum portfolios, such as excise and taxation, revenue and disaster management, industries, PWD, food and civil supplies etc. with himself.
“Actually Dushyant doesn’t trust his legislators. Therefore, he wants to control all the levers of power,” a JJP MLA said, urging anonymity.
While Gautam, known for his diatribe, unfurled the banner of revolt against Dushyant repeatedly, Dhanak has been sulking in private.
Political observers attribute this simmering unrest among the JJP MLAs to party leadership’s reluctance in sharing the spoils of the power with all the legislators.
Yet another grouse, a JJP MLA said, is the “doormat like” treatment most of the party MLAs get in their segments from the administration and Dushyant watching this “humiliation” of his MLAs quietly.
Tohana MLA Babli’s accusations (see interview) comes days after independent MLA Balraj Kundu levelling serious corruption allegations against former BJP MLA Manish Grover.
While Gautam is under the disciplinary radar of the party, JJP chief Nishan Singh said Tohana MLA Babli’s grouses were not “anti-party.”
“This is natural for an MLA to raise issues concerning his segment. Babli had raised some issues during the grievances committee meeting on Sunday,” Nishan Singh said.
JJP insiders indicate that there are chances of not just more party MLAs but also those who had contested assembly polls unsuccessfully opening the front against the government.
Gautam, who was first to fire the salvo, struck a defiant note when asked if he had responded in writing to the show-cause notice. “I may or may not send my reply,” he said.
All this points towards the simmering tension within the coalition government that has been struggling to decide the common minimum programme, three months after assuming office.
The sparks of rebellion and disenchantment within the JJP is music to the ears of the BJP.
Not just how well Dushyant Chautala tackles his 10 sensitive portfolios, but also his ambitious legislators and power hungry party workers will be under close watch in the days to come.