Fissures surfaces in INLD as chacha-bhatija vie for power
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Fissures surfaces in INLD as chacha-bhatija vie for power

Party insiders say INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala may try and bring son Abhay Chautala and grandson Dushyant Chautala together in runup to Haryana assembly elections.

india Updated: Oct 12, 2018 11:01 IST
Rajesh Moudgil
Rajesh Moudgil
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Indian National Lok Dal,Haryana,Om Prakash Chautala
Dushyant Chautala and Abhay Singh Chautala (left to right)(HT File)

Fissures in the Haryana’s principal opposition party, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), are out in the open.

The friction first came to the fore at Sunday’s Gohana event of the party where top party leaders were booed by a section of young party supporters, who also raised slogans in support of Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala. The dissolution of INLD’s youth and students’ wing by the party national president Om Prakash Chautala on Thursday is now seen as the consequences of the widening rift.

The disruption at Gohana, which continued despite repeated admonitions by INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, demonstrated the ongoing tug of war within the Chautala clan.

Of confrontation, and more

The sequence of events have sent an impression that the leadership of Abhay Singh Chautala, who is spearheading the party in the absence of his incarcerated father and elder brother, Ajay Singh, is being confronted by his nephew and Ajay’s elder son, Dushyant.

Abhay Singh, however, says the issue is not of gaining ascendancy in the party. “It’s a matter of party discipline. Never before has such indiscipline been witnessed in the party ranks. Portraying it as a fight for supremacy is a misnomer,” Abhay adds.

On the dissolution of party’s youth wing and INSO, Abhay Singh states that there was a need to re-constitute the two wings as a number of “anti-party” elements had managed to gain access to them.

Dushyant also attempts to brush aside the matter, and says, “There are no fissures in the family or party. Chautala sahib is the supreme in the family and party alike.”

On the question of disruption at the rally, he however, asks how can he know why workers did what they did.

Writing on the wall

The desire for more voice and space in the party has since long been simmering in family of Chautala’s elder son Ajay, who along with the former, is serving 10 imprisonment in JBT recruitment case since 2013. Ajay’s elder son Dushyant desires to carry on his father’s political legacy. While Ajay’s wife Naina Chautala is MLA from Dabwali, Dushyant’s younger brother Digvijay is leader of the party’s students wing (Indian National Students’ Organisaton).

The cheering incident, apparently by supporters of Dushyant, which went beyond control at the rally, was waiting to happen, given the increasing youth support to INSO and Hisar MP in the past four years.

Dushyant, on the other hand, has not been enjoying much space or voice in INLD’s organisational affairs. He was not even allowed to speak during the INLD state executive committee meeting at Gurugram last week.

Chautala’s dilemma

Party insiders say Chautala may try a patch-up between Abhay and Ajay’s family showing them the prospects of a united INLD in the upcoming polls. The latter’s family, however, appears reluctant to give the party power solely in hands of Abhay.

Chautala, however, desires to back Abhay as he has led the party so far and also because at 30, Dushyant can be considered young in political circles.

Chautala has also publicly backed Abhay in the past, especially for his active involvement in polls. The INLD, which had 47 MLAs in 2000, had fallen to nine in 2005. When Abhay led the party in 2010, the number of MLAs rose to 32, though in 2014 it plunged to 19.

History repeats itself

Many differences have emerged in the past in Chautala family to gain power. After becoming deputy prime minister in 1990, the party founder, late Devi Lal, vacated Meham seat for Chautala, when his (Chautala’s) younger brother Ranjit Singh was already MLA from Rori and holding ministerial berth in Devi Lal’s government.

It was in the same year that Chautala took over the party and formed the government and became chief minister despite not even being a legislator at that time.

After the infamous mayhem in Meham in 1990, Singh left Devi Lal’s Janata Dal and joined Congress.

Chautala got Abhay elected twice in 2000 and 2010 in by-polls, but Abhay won a general election only in 2014. Ajay always appeared to play the second fiddle in party’s organisational or election affairs.

First Published: Oct 12, 2018 11:00 IST