A week ahead of the crucial Jind bypoll in Haryana, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Monday announced its support for Lok Sabha MP Dushyant Chautala’s younger brother, Digvijay who is contesting as an Independent candidate.
AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Gupta made a formal announcement regarding the party’s decision to extend their support to Digvijay in Jind Monday.
Meanwhile, the Tihar jail administration has cancelled the three-week long furlough of former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala triggering a blame game between AAP and the INLD.
While AAP’s Haryana spokesperson Sudhir Yadav told The Indian Express that jail administration had cancelled the furlough “on technical grounds”, the INLD alleged that the AAP government in Delhi was behind the cancellation. Chautala is undergoing 10 years’ imprisonment in Tihar after his conviction in JBT teachers’ scam in 2013.
Sources said Chautala was likely to address poll meetings in support of the INLD candidate for the Jind bypoll from Wednesday.
INLD state president Ashok Arora said that Chautala was undergoing treatment at Delhi’s Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, and was scheduled to be released on furlough from Tuesday. He was shifted to Tihar jail from the hospital late on Monday evening, he added.
A video clip has already gone viral in which Chautala, while talking to news channels, is alleging that a conspiracy has been hatched to stop him from campaigning in Jind.
“The AAP has hatched this conspiracy, along with the JJP. The voters of Jind will teach a lesson to these traitors by voting for Umed Redhu (INLD candidate),” Chautala says in the video.
But the AAP spokesperson said the allegations were due to “INLD’s frustration over AAP’s support to the JJP candidate”.
Chautala’s elder son and Digvijay’s father, Ajay Chautala, is also lodged in the same jail. After a split in the INLD, Ajay had recently formed Jannayak Janata Party (JJP). However, Digvijay is contesting the poll as an Independent candidate.
Dushyant Chautala also questioned INLD’s claims saying, “The matter falls under the jurisdiction of Delhi Police…Had we been so influential, we would have got extension leave of our leader Ajay Chautala.” Ajay had recently campaigned for the Jind bypoll.
The JJP also released a letter purportedly issued by the Delhi prisons department, which mentioned conditions regarding the furlough to Chautala.
“In view of history referred in order….he (Chautala) shall not attend/address any political meetings/gatherings and shall not involve in political activities during the period of furlough,” mentioned the letter dated January 18.
Dushyant added: “It’s possible that they (INLD) might have got the furlough cancelled themselves because of this condition.”
However, senior INLD leader R S Chaudhary said that three letters were issued in connection with Chautala’s furlough.
“In first letter, they mentioned seven ordinary conditions, in second they prohibited participation in political meetings and in the latest issued on Monday, the prisons department cancelled the furlough,” said Chaudhary.
Chautala’s advocate Amit Sahni said an additional condition asking him not to participate in political activities was imposed. “When an application for withdrawing the condition was filed with DG jail, Home Minister Satyendar Jain sent a letter cancelling the furlough.”
(With inputs from ENS Delhi)