Hisar (Haryana): A fratricidal battle is on within the clan of one of Haryana’s tallest Jat leaders and former deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal, whose founded regional party, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), and its offshoot outfit Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) are floundering.

Ranjit Singh Chautala, who is Devi Lal’s youngest son, and Singh’s two daughters-in-law of his eldest brother and five-time chief minister O.P. Chautala face one another in the dynastic supremacy feud from Haryana’s Hisar seat that will go to the polls along with nine other state parliamentary seats on May 25.

While Ranjit Singh, a Cabinet minister in the state government, is the BJP nominee, his two ‘bahus’ — Naina Chautala and Sunaina Chautala are the JJP and the INLD candidates, respectively.

While Naina is the mother of former deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala and wife of Ajay Chautala, who is Devi Lal’s grandson, Sunaina is the wife of Ravi Chautala, who is a son of INLD patriarch O.P. Chautala’s elder brother Pratap Chautala.

Naina, the first woman who took a political plunge in the 80-year-old history of the Chautala family and is known for ‘Hari Chunari ki Chaupal’ campaign to mobilise women voters, is a two-time legislator, while Sunaina has been leading INLD’s women’s wing since 2019.

Naina was fielded for the first time from the Dabwali constituency in INLD’s stronghold in Sirsa district in the 2014 assembly elections after her husband Ajay Chautala and her father-in-law Om Prakash Chautala were sentenced to jail in junior basic trained (JBT) teachers scam in 2013.

Sandwiched among the Chautalas is a Congress nominee and three-time Hisar MP, Jai Prakash, nicknamed JP or Pradhan ji, who started his political journey as an activist of the Lok Dal (now the INLD) of Devi Lal, who was widely known as Jan Nayak or people’s leader.

Sitting Hisar MP Brijendra Singh, who is the son of Chaudhary Birender Singh, quit the BJP last month to join the Congress. He was one of the aspirants for the Congress ticket.

Interestingly, neither the Devi Lal clan nor the Congress nominee belong to the Hisar parliamentary constituency. The Devi Lal family belongs to the Sirsa district, while Jai Prakash belongs to the Kalayat Assembly constituency in the Kaithal district.

After the family feud within the INLD, O.P. Chautala’s Ajay and his son Dushyant split the party vertically in 2018 and formed the JJP. In 2019, the JJP extended support to the BJP to form the government in the state.

Political observers told IANS the Congress candidate Jai Prakash, a confidante of two-time chief minister Bhupinder Hooda, has an edge over his rivals as he at the age of 32 became a deputy Union minister after he won his first Lok Sabha election in 1989 as the Janta Dal candidate.

Also, he knows each and every corner of the constituency, this being his eighth Lok Sabha poll from Hisar. He represented Hisar in 1989 as the Janata Dal nominee, in 1996 as a Bansi Lal-led Haryana Vikas Party candidate and in 2004 as the Congress nominee. He lost the Hisar seat in 1991, 1998, 2009 and 2011 by-polls.

Ajay Chautala’s son, Dushyant, won the Hisar parliamentary seat in 2014 by defeating Kuldeep Bishnoi, then a Haryana Janhit Congress candidate, but lost this seat to Brijendra Singh in 2019. Bishnoi, who claimed Bhajan Lal’s legacy and won this seat in 2011 after the demise of his father, was hoping to get a nomination from Hisar as a BJP candidate.

However, another member of Devi Lal’s family in the fray this time is Abhay Chautala, the younger son of O.P. Chautala. He’s contesting as an INLD candidate from Kurukshetra against BJP’s Naveen Jindal and INDIA block’s Sushil Gupta, who is Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) state chief.

Popularly known as Tau, Chaudhary Devi Lal, who played an active role in the formation of Haryana as a separate state, died on April 6, 2001, at the age of 85.

The INLD was founded in October 1996 as Haryana Lok Dal (Rashtriya) by Devi Lal, who served as Deputy Prime Minister of India in the V.P. Singh’s Cabinet. His son O.P. Chautala is the current president. The party was renamed into its current name in 1998.

The Hisar constituency comprises nine assembly segments — Bawani Khera (reserved), Nalwa, Hisar, Barwala, Hansi, Adampur, Narnaud, Uklana (reserved) and Uchana.

Interestingly, no candidate has so far managed to win twice from the Hisar constituency on the same party’s ticket since 1966. Also, this constituency, where women are told to remain behind the ‘ghoonghat’ (veil), has never elected a woman as its representative in the Lok Sabha elections.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *