Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Dushyant Chautala, the Hisar MP with eye on Haryana politics
Dushyant Chautala’s entry into electoral politics at 26 was by a quirk of fate. His father, Ajay Singh Chautala, was the first choice for the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) from the Hisar Lok Sabha seat in 2014. But Ajay’s 10-year sentencing in the junior basic training (JBT) teacher recruitment case by a CBI court in 2013 upset the party’s plans. The twist of fate thus facilitated the electoral debut of Dushyant from Hisar.
In his very first election, the soft-spoken youngster earned people’s sympathy and came out victorious by over 30,000 votes, defeating Haryana Janhit Congress candidate Kuldeep Bishnoi, the son of former chief minister Bhajan Lal and Congress candidate and former minister Sampat Singh. In fact, he became the youngest member of the Lok Sabha in 2014 and came out as a promising politician.
‘Driving’ home the point
Dushyant hit headlines in 2017 when he drove a tractor to the Parliament House to highlight the concerns of farmers following an amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act that affected the existing status of the tractor as an agricultural vehicle. The MP was of the view that since the government has declared the tractor as a motor vehicle like any other automobile, he being a farmer, would be entitled to use it as a means of transportation to reach the Lok Sabha.
During his debut, Dushyant emerged as one of the most prolific enquirers in terms of the number of questions he asked. Of the 10 Lok Sabha MPs from Haryana, Dushyant has to his credit 675 questions posed to the government. A majority of the questions were un-starred questions. Un-starred questions are the ones to which written answers are given by ministers and laid on the table of the House. No oral answers are given for un-starred questions.
His rival, Sampat Singh, however, says written replies by the government on un-starred questions do not mean much. “Issues need to be discussed in the House to arrive at a conclusion,’’ he says.
The sheer range of topics and issues touched by Dushyant in Parliament since 2014 is impressive. His questions ranged from tariff regulation for cable television, child abuse in shelter homes, fast track courts for trial of crime against women, railway projects and national highway projects in Haryana, radiation levels around nuclear power plants, unmanned level crossings, quality of generic drugs, impact of radiation emanating from mobile phone towers, misleading advertisements, construction of toilets by corporate houses, crimes against senior citizens, regulation for groundwater usage, child labour and drug trafficking.
The young MP was proactive when it came to participating in debates in the Lok Sabha. In fact, his involvement in more than 200 Lok Sabha debates is way above the participation of his colleagues from Haryana. Dushyant also moved 20 private member Bills in the House that are pending and will lapse.
Eye on state politics
Like many politicians from regional parties, Dushyant also realised that his political future lay in state politics. The turn of events since October 2018 when he and his younger brother were expelled from the party by their grandfather and INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala for anti-party activities, paved the way for the creation of a new political outfit, the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP).
The rivalry within the Chautala clan had become apparent during the birth anniversary celebrations of former deputy prime minister and INLD patriarch Chaudhary Devi Lal at Gohana in October 2018 when supporters of the Hisar MP shouted out his political ambitions. The ‘Aaya, aaya CM aaya… ‘(Here comes the chief minister) cries from Dushyant supporters were not only aimed at challenging the authority of the man in-charge of the INLD, his uncle Abhay Singh Chautala, but it also provoked the INLD supremo, Om Prakash Chautala.
“Dushyant and his supporters were clear. They believe that the INLD needs a leadership shift to stay relevant. And Dushyant’s clean image and pleasant personality made him an obvious choice,’’ says a JJP supporter from Jind.
However, Om Prakash Chautala has a different take on the ambitions of his grandsons. “Maturity is important in politics. Both Dushyant and Digvijay lack it. Dushyant won the Hisar Lok Sabha seat due to the INLD’s support. But he misconstrued the affection he got from the public. They mistakenly believed that the future belonged to them,’’ Chautala said.
Dushyant’s estranged uncle Abhay says. “He remained busy in self promotion. His focus was on photo-ops, hogging the limelight and attempts to take control of the INLD.”
The first-time MP, however, has his own share of fan following. Sandeep Dahiya, a hotel employee in Hisar town is full of admiration for Dushyant. “He has a personal connect with the masses. I remember his visit to Jat College when a student made a request to him on FB to join his birthday celebrations,’’ he says.