After forming the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), Jind bypoll will be first electoral test for the Ajay Chautala family in Haryana. The party has fielded his younger son Digvijay Chautala. In an interview with The Indian Express, Digvijay explains why a Chautala family member has been fielded for the bypoll and why followers of former Haryana chief minister Devi Lal will support him even after his expulsion from the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) headed by his grandfather Om Prakash Chautala.
Your political opponents say the “Chautala family doesn’t give chance to anyone else, so you have been fielded for the Jind bypoll”.
Such statements are made by those who believe in baseless talks. I never sought the ticket. It was wish of the people. If my party has fielded me for the bypoll, I won’t backtrack and will move ahead taking this as a responsibility.
In the past you have seen conviction of your father (Ajay Chautala) and grandfather (Om Prakash Chautala) in JBT teachers’ scam. Do you feel that issue will affect your poll results?
No. It won’t have any effect. But we are getting sympathy of the people (on that account). You have seen this in Samasat Haryana Sammelan held in Jind on December 9 last year. People feel that wrong has been done to us.
So, you feel that your father and grandfather’s conviction was under false charges. Do you feel that you will get support on that account?
Naturally. History shows us that people of Haryana have raised their voice against injustice, be it during Mahabharata era or the third battle of Panipat. (UPA chairperson) Sonia Gandhi and her family, (former chief minister) Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Haryana and the Congress candidate (Randeep Singh Surjewala) who has been fielded against me, they were involved in the entire conspiracy. Despite being innocent, they sent Chaudhary Om Prakash Chautala ji and Ajay Chautala to jail. This is all on record, I don’t have need to tell this. Surjewala’s interview was aired on a TV channel at 9:55 am while the punishment was awarded at 10:30am. It means that the people in Congress already knew (conviction of Chautalas).
Do you feel that you will get as much support as your grandfather Om Prakash Chautala and great grandfather Devi Lal enjoyed?
People of Haryana feel (my elder brother) Dushyant ji is an “ansh” of Chaudhary Devi Lal. He is emerging as most acceptable leader across the caste lines. His politeness plays a key role. He has an image that is acceptable to all.
After a split in the INLD, Om Prakash Chautala has sided with your uncle Abhay Chautala.
He has not sided with my uncle. After he went to jail on November 17 last year, those who had control over the party, played this game. I believe they wanted to take control over it by expelling me, Dushyant ji and Ajay Singh ji. And probably, they have succeeded in it.
Do you think a reunion in the family is possible after the election?
No, we never left the party. Some people in the INLD expelled us. After this, we called a public meeting in Jind where lakhs of people gathered and asked us to form a party. When they have sacked us from the party, then such type of talks should be stopped.
Had you (Ajay and Abhay Chautala family) fought this bypoll together, what would have been the fate here?
There was a perception of being hot headed, there was a fear in the trader community regarding the INLD…I would not like to discuss whether they were perceptions or truth, but that image has been left behind after formation of the new party by Dushyant ji. We are now getting a huge support especially in urban areas. Those people, who had never gone with the INLD, they are ready to come with Dushyant ji.
Who will be your chief ministerial candidate for 2019 Assembly election?
The party will decide.
There has been lot of talk regarding an alliance between your party and the Aam Aadmi Party.
Like minded people should join hands not only in Haryana but also at national level.
Do you feel (AAP convener and Delhi CM) Arvind Kejriwal’s support may help you in the byelection?
They (AAP) don’t have any candidate there. Naturally, if I get support from anyone, it will enhance my strength.
Surjewala and your family has already seen four electoral battles in past. How do you feel that this election is different from the previous elections?
When Surjewala fought election from Narwana, he promised to change the destiny of Narwana. When he moved to Kaithal, he talked about bringing a change in Kaithal. Now, he has come to Jind and says “will change the lives here in Jind”. It will be decided by the people who will change Jind and their lives. I believe he has been a member of Haryana legislative Assembly for the past nearly 15 years, there has not been a single instance when Surjewala raised any issue regarding basic requirements of this area. He went to Vidhan Sabha only for six days out of the total 73 days (of Assembly session’s duration). There is a need to elect a person who raises voice of Haryana in (Assembly in) Chandigarh and not in Delhi.
How do you see this election’s importance?
After three months, there will be Lok Sabha polls and after about nine months, Haryana’s Assembly elections will be held. In agriculture fields, chaupals or in shops, there is general impression that whoever wins Jind, will form the next government in Haryana.