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When Jagdeep Dhankhar stood by Devi Lal, impressed Chautala family

Ranjit Singh Chautala – Devi Lal’s son and a Cabinet minister in Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar-led government – told The Indian Express: “Dhankhar is like a member of our family. He came into politics after being influenced by Devi Lal.”

Jagdeep Dhankhar (File)

The then Haryana Chief Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal had religiously campaigned for Jagdeep Dhankhar when the Janata Dal had fielded him from Jhunjhunu parliamentary constituency of Rajasthan in 1989.

Ranjit Singh Chautala – Devi Lal’s son and a Cabinet minister in Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar-led government – told The Indian Express: “Dhankhar is like a member of our family. He came into politics after being influenced by Devi Lal.”

Ranjit Chautala said: “In 1987, Chaudhary Devi Lal had called for a rally of Opposition at Boat Club in Delhi. Dhankhar brought as many as 500 vehicles full of people from Jhunjhunu to participate in the rally. Devi Lal patted him on the back. Devi Lal called him from his home and offered a ticket of Janata Dal to contest from Jhunjhunu Lok Sabha constituency in 1989.”

Dhankhar won the election and became minister of state (parliamentary affairs) in V P Singh government when Devi Lal became Deputy Prime Minister.

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Ranjit Chautala recalls: “Following differences, V P Singh had dismissed Devi Lal in 1990. Then, Dhankhar was the only minister who resigned from the Union Cabinet standing by Chaudhary Devi Lal. It impressed Chaudhary Devi Lal who called Dhankhar a man of commitment.” Later, Devi Lal became Deputy Prime Minister in the minority government led by Chandrashekhar while Dhankhar also became a minister in his government.

Ranjit Chautala too had gained prominence in 1989 when he was considered a strong claimant for the post of CM in Haryana after his father Devi Lal had moved to Centre as Deputy Prime Minister.

“My father wanted to see me as the CM. However, because of the decision of the family, Om Prakash, being the eldest, was made the CM. That time Rajiv Gandhi and Bhajan Lal had offered me the post of CM if I joined Congress along with other MLAs. I refused because I had a lot of respect for my father,” Ranjit Chautala had told The Indian Express earlier.

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An independent legislator, Ranjit Chautala is currently looking after the power and jails portfolio in Haryana’s BJP-JJP alliance government.

First published on: 18-07-2022 at 02:13 IST
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