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Friday, July 01, 2022

Again sent to jail, 5-time CM Chautala was once most Googled person

In October 2014 (a day before Haryana went to assembly polls), Google had released a statement: “Leader of the Indian National Lokdal (INLD) Om Prakash Chautala, emerged as the most searched leaders in Haryana”.

Written by Varinder Bhatia |
May 28, 2022 7:55:01 am
Former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala. (File)

Former Haryana chief minster Om Prakash Chautala was on Friday brought to Tihar Jail here after he was awarded a four-year jail term in a disproportionate assets case, officials said. Chautala was medically examined on his arrival in the prison complex. He will be lodged in a cell in jail number 2 along with two other inmates. He reached the jail around 7 pm, a senior jail official said. Earlier too, he was lodged in jail number 2 after being convicted in another case, they said. Varinder Bhatia traces the rise and fall of the Indian National Lok Dal leader.

One of the biggest political families of Haryana

The Chautala clan is one of the most politically active families in Haryana. Om Prakash Chautala’s father Devi Lal was the former deputy prime minister and one of the tallest farmer leaders of Haryana. Om Prakash’s younger brother Ranjit Singh is current power minister in Haryana. Ranjit won from Rania as Independent candidate. Om Prakash’s other brothers Jagdish and Pratap Chautala are no more. Om Prakash has two sons Abhay Chautala, MLA from Ellenabad, and Ajay Chautala who is national convener of Jannayak Janta Party (JJP). Ajay’s son Dushyant Chautala is Haryana’s deputy chief minister and had been one of the youngest Members of Parliament at the age of 26. While Ajay Chautala’s sons Dushyant and Digvijay have already contested elections, Abhay’s sons Karan and Arjun Chautala have also started getting active in politics, although they are yet to contest any polls.

Once figured on Google as “most searched politicians of Haryana”

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In October 2014 (a day before Haryana went to assembly polls), Google had released a statement: “Leader of the Indian National Lokdal (INLD) Om Prakash Chautala, emerged as the most searched leaders in Haryana”. Gopal Kanda, the then Independent MLA from Sirsa and a close-aide of Chautala’s sons Abhay and Ajay emerged as the second most searched political leader, leaving behind Congress leader and then Haryana CM Bhupendra Singh Hooda. Kuldeep Bishnoi, Adampur’s MLA stood at fourth position. In 2014 assembly polls, Chautala led INLD got 19 seats and Hooda led Congress slipped to 15 while Manohar Lal Khattar led BJP made history and formed the government by getting an absolute majority with 47 seats in the 90-member Vidhan Sabha.

Got appreciation from Bollywood celebs, politicians

For clearing his Class 10 and 12 examinations at the age of 87 years and that too while serving sentence in Tihar jail, Chautala was recently congratulated by Bollywood celebrities. Senior politician from J&K, Omar Abdullah too congratulated Chautala for this achievement. “A person is never too old to learn,” Omar Abdullah had tweeted. Abhishek Bachchan and Nimrat Kaur, who recently acted in a film titled ‘Dasvi’ — which is about a politician appearing for Class 10 exams from jail, also congratulated him on Twitter.

Once appearing for the examination, he had refused to speak to the media and said “I am a student”. Chautala had cleared the exams for Class 12 under the Haryana Open Board. However, his result and certificate was put on hold as the authorities discovered he had yet not cleared his Class 10 examination. He eventually cleared that too and recently got both his marksheets from Haryana School Education Board.

In Class 10, Chautala scored 53.4 per cent marks with Urdu, Science, Social Studies and Indian Culture and Heritage as subjects.

A five-time CM of Haryana

Chautala has been state’s chief minister five times for varying periods, ranging from as low as five days to a full term of five years. He had been a seven time MLA .
When he was caught allegedly smuggling watches at Delhi airport, his father Devi Lal had disowned him. But, when Devi Lal went to Delhi as deputy prime minister in the Janata Dal government, it was Chautala who inherited the CM’s chair on December 2, 1989. He was required to win election for which he contested thrice. The first by-election was countermanded following reports of booth capturing, the second too was countermanded because of the death of Independent candidate Amir Singh. He got third time lucky from Darba Kalan in his home district.

It was in 1996 when Justice KN Saikia Commission indicted him as an accessory to the killing of Amir Singh. His party was forced to bring in another chief minister, Banarsi Das Gupta. However, Gupta could barely stay in the chair for two and a half months with Chautala coming back to power on July 2, 1990. But, he was forced to quit within five days due to intense pressure from within the party. Hukam Singh took over, but he too had to make way for Chautala eight months later. This time Chautala again stayed as CM from March 2 till April 6, 1991 but rebellion against him toppled him and the state was put under President’s rule. Next, it was in 1999 when Chautala toppled the Bansi Lal government with BJP behind him and became chief minister. This time, he completed his term from July 24, 1999 till March 5, 2005.

Two convictions

First conviction in 2013 in JBT teachers’ recruitment scam. He was sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of corruption and 10 years for criminal conspiracy.

Besides Chautala, his elder son Ajay and 53 others were also held guilty. A total of 55 persons were convicted for illegally recruiting 3,206 teachers in Haryana in 2000. Among the prominent who were convicted were 82-year-old Chautala’s then political adviser Sher Singh Badshami, the then Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Vidya Dhar, IAS, and then Primary Education Director Sanjiv Kumar, besides 50 others. Last year on July 2, he was released form Tihar jail after he completed his sentence.

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