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Explained: How INLD’s fall is reshaping Haryana’s political landscape

After a split in the INLD in 2018 and humiliating defeat in the recent Lok Sabha polls, a feeling has gained ground in a section of its leaders that the party won’t return to the power in 2019 Assembly polls.

Written by Sukhbir Siwach | Updated: July 23, 2019 10:52:00 am
Explained: How INLD’s fall is reshaping Haryana’s political landscape Former Haryana Chief Minister and INLD Chief Om Prakash Chautala.  (Express File Photo: Jaipal Singh)

The INLD, helmed by the Chautala family since its inception, is now struggling for survival as the state heads for crucial Assembly polls this year. In the past four months, several party leaders, including six MLAs, have deserted it. The Indian Express explains why INLD is unable to keep its flocks together post split in 2018 that was caused by a feud in the Chautala family.

Why are INLD MLAs leaving the party?

After a split in the INLD in 2018 and humiliating defeat in the recent Lok Sabha polls, a feeling has gained ground in a section of its leaders that the party won’t return to the power in 2019 Assembly polls. In past four months, six MLAs have left the party. Five of them have already joined the ruling BJP. Four MLAs had earlier supported the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) of Dushyant Chautala. Two MLAs, who have not left the INLD officially, one is supporting BJP and the other is backing the Congress. INLD had won 19 seats in 90 member Assembly in 2014, but two of them had died later. With this only five MLAs are currently supporting the INLD led by former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala.

Who will gain from INLD’s losses?

When former CM Om Prakash Chautala’s grandson and the then Lok Sabha MP Dushyant Chautala formed Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) after a split in the INLD, it attracted a large number of youths apart from four sitting MLAs. The JJP fared much better than the INLD in Jind Assembly bypoll. But after the Lok Sabha poll results, many of its leaders realised that the newly formed outfit is too far from the power in near future. At one stage, Congress especially former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda camp had also hoped that it would able to attract the Jat voters of the INLD. But Congress high command could not even resolve the issue of state party president following intense infighting in the Congress. “INLD’s losses mean BJP’s gains because the Congress has poor organisation in Haryana. Regional parties are also losing ground,” says Ranbir Gangwa, who was first INLD MLA to switch to the BJP in March after split in the INLD. BJP leaders are in a jubilant mode since it won all ten Lok Sabha seats from Haryana recently.

What does the JJP hope to gain from this crisis?

Both Dushyant and his younger brother, Digvijay Chautala, are young political leaders in the state. They are trying hard to attract traditional cadre of the INLD.

Why it’s question of survival for the INLD?

Months after the vertical split, the INLD was almost wiped out from the electoral scene during recent Lok Sabha polls. However, it had won two seats out of ten in 2014. This time INLD not only lost all ten seats but in six parliamentary constituencies, it could barely finish on fifth spot while it managed fourth position in four constituencies. In many constituencies, its candidates could not even secure one per cent of total votes polled. JJP contested on seven seats and its ally AAP on remaining three. While JJP remained on third position in three constituencies, fourth position in three and fifth position in one constituency; AAP finished fourth in one constituency and finished on fifth position in two. Dushyant secured second place in Hisar while INLD candidate Suresh Koth could get about 10,000 votes from here.

How INLD’s downfall may affect Haryana’s politics?

INLD national secretary general R S Chaudhry believes that both BJP as well Congress want to finish regional parties because “they find them a hurdle in their way”. “That’s why both parties target the INLD,” he says. Dushyant Chautala’s JJP may also try hard to expand its support base.

How does the INLD plan to revive the party?

Soon after nephew Dushyant Chautala formed a new party, INLD leader Abhay Chautala allowed entry of his sons, Arjun Chautala and Karan Chautala, in politics. Arjun Chautala was even fielded for the Lok Sabha polls. However, INLD leaders hope that release of Om Prakash Chautala from the jail in near future will brighten party’s prospects. “Chautala ji enjoys support across the state. As soon as he is released from the jail, party’s graph will further rise. Only few leaders have left the party and our cadre is intact with the party,” claims R S Chaudhry.

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