“Bavishya me hum sarkar banayenge. Apna bhai jab baith jayega, aap banayoge to uska daftar Chandigarh me nahi, Chief Minister ka daftar Jind me hoga (We will form the next government . If you elect, our brother (Lok Sabha MP Dushyant Chautala) will be the Chief Minister and his office will be in Jind and not in Chandigarh),” Digvijay Chautala tells a motley group of villagers.
Dushyant announced forming his political outfit – the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) – in Jind last month after a split in the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). He fielded younger brother Digvijay for the Jind bypoll as an independent candidate as the party is still in the formation process. “I mean, the main CM camp office will be in Jind,” Digvijay later clarifies.
“If your brother (Dushyant) becomes the CM then all works will be done easily,” says Digvijay, 27, while addressing a poll meeting at village Kair Kheri. He is facing a tough challenge from Congress’s Randeep Singh Surjewala and BJP’s Krishan Midha. He promises an association with the voters for at least next 50 years. Addressing around 3,000 villagers, with women in veil and standing in a corner, Digvijay also promises a railway line to Chandigarh from Jind apart from loan waiver for farmers and poor, if JJP is voted to power.
Digvijay then spends a considerable time in neighbouring Kandela village where Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had held ‘chai pe charcha’ (discussion on tea) to woo the voters in support of BJP candidate while former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda held a public meeting in support of Surjewala.
Standing tall at six feet and four inches, Digvijay moves around on Royal Enfield motor cycle with a team of youngsters. He greets people with folded hands and bows down, when he comes across someone older.
Digvijay obliges his supporters by having a bite of food and sweets at their residence. “I have tea at least 70 to 75 times in a day,” Digvijay laughs. At one such tea function, a supporter Bittu Redhu says, “Bhai sahab mhara pura kunaba lagya hai, eeb mhari berojgari khatam kar do (Respected brother, our entire family is supporting you. Now, please resolve our problem of unemployment.” Redhu’s family offers a garland of notes but Digvijay politely refuses. However, he accepts the green pagri, that has become an identification symbol of the Chautalas.
In his public meetings, Surjewala takes on Chautala family for ‘Kandela kand’ when six agitating farmers had died during police firing in 2002 during the then Om Prakash Chautala government. In the village, Digvijay seeks apology for “whatever happened in past”.
He takes time out to reach Jind where he offers namaz at an Eidgah. “My grandfather Devi Lal had given strength to the minorities,” he says.
Back to the village, at a community dharmshala, Digvijay promises employment for the Dalit youth. “This is a semifinal match ahead of the Haryana assembly polls. Whoever wins Jind bypoll will form the next government in Haryana.”
A group of supporters raise slogans in favour of Dushyant. “Ye to rup dusara tau ka, Dushyant Chautala re (Dushyant is a copy of Tau Devi Lal).
Digvijay obliges a volunteer for a brief interview for `Jan Nayak News channel’ so that he can post videos on the social media.
Digvijay’s main strength is his trusted friends like Puneet Solanki, who has done his masters in management from London’s City University. “Digvijay and I lived together in London,” says Solanki while driving Digvijay’s SUV. Digvijay had taken admission at London’s Middlesex University but had to leave the study midway after conviction of his father Ajay Chautala and grandfather Om Prakash Chautala in JBT teachers’ scam of 2013.
Speaking to The Sunday Express, Digvijay says some 350 volunteers of party’s student wing INSO are camping in Jind to campaign for him.