Chandigarh: Leader of Opposition post at stake, Abhay in no hurry to act against ‘rebels’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/chandigarh-leader-of-opposition-post-at-stake-abhay-in-no-hurry-to-act-against-rebels-5447048/

Chandigarh: Leader of Opposition post at stake, Abhay in no hurry to act against ‘rebels’

As Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Abhay enjoys all facilities that are given to a Cabinet minister. If INLD faces a formal split, then the party may lose the post of LoP to Congress.

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Abhay Chautala with other INLD leaders during a press conference in Chandigarh Wednesday. (Photo by Jasbir Malhi)

WITH THE post of Leader of Opposition (LoP) at stake, Abhay Chautala doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to take any action against four of his MLAs who have sided with elder brother Ajay Chautala.

INLD had won 19 seats in October 2014 Assembly polls but one of its legislators, Hari Chand Midha, died in August. Currently, it has 18 MLAs in the 90 member Assembly while Congress has 17 MLAs. Four INLD legislators, including Ajay’s wife Naina Chautala, have openly come out in support of Ajay faction. Experts say there is need of two-third MLAs which means support of 12 out of 18 to form a new party.

One of the INLD MLAs, Nagender Bhadana, is known as supporter of BJP but in the Vidhan Sabha, he is still counted as a part of INLD legislative group.

As Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Abhay enjoys all facilities that are given to a Cabinet minister. If INLD faces a formal split, then the party may lose the post of LoP to Congress.

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But in the current circumstances, none of the four MLAs seem keen to resign from Vidhan Sabha nor Abhay Chautala want to expel them from the party on his own. Further, by asking its loyalists to resign from Assembly, Ajay’s family doesn’t want to give this impression that its withdrawing its claim from the party. Further, these MLAs won’t like to lose the membership of Vidhan Sabha almost one year before the Assembly polls. “Why would we resign?” said an MLA from Ajay’s faction who did not wish to be named.

Abhay Chautala on Wednesday said, “Some MLAs are saying that they are with them (Ajay faction). If they give me in writing that they don’t want to follow directions of this party (INLD), I will give this to the Assembly Speaker tomorrow itself and they will lose their membership. (But) I don’t have any need to expel any of them.”

“If any MLA of our party indulges in indiscipline. (And if ) anybody consider himself above the party, then we will ask him to give in writing to state that he doesn’t want to sit on the bench allotted to INLD in the Vidhan Sabha. If they don’t give in writing, then they have to sit on our (INLD) benches,” said Abhay Chautala.

Haryana Assembly Speaker Kanwar Pal Gujjar told The Indian Express that they can’t do anything in the matter of LOP till their MLAs don’t say anything in the Assembly over this matter. “We can intervene, only if they (rebels) form any group,” said the Speaker.

Dadri MLA Rajdeep Phogat, who is supporting Ajay Chautala, said he would hold a press conference at Dadri tomorrow to share their next plans.

On the other hand, Abhay Chautala faction’s MLA Balwan Singh Daulatpuria told The Indian Express that those MLAs who have been misguided would understand the entire matter soon. “I am sure all 17 MLAs would attend the party meeting at Chandigarh on November 17,” said Daulatpuria.

Abhay Chautala said Wednesday that Chaudhary Om Prakash Chautala would become Chief Minister if INLD is voted to power in next Assembly elections in Haryana.

“If any legal hurdle comes in his way, then we would sit together to decide who should hold the chair,” said Chautala in the press conference. “I was never in this race (CM). I never expressed such desires. We would declare, Chief Ministerial candidate as soon as dates of Assembly Elections are announced.”  Abhay said he was hurt when his elder brother termed him ‘Duryodhana’ .