Unless there is a compromise in the warring Chautala clan in Haryana, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) seems headed for a split, as Ajay Chautala, soon after his release on parole from Delhi’s Tihar Jail on Monday, vowed to wage a battle to secure his “right”.
“You have to snatch your due, not beg for it,” he said, addressing hundreds of supporters who had gathered at the Delhi residence of his Lok Sabha MP-son Dushyant, who, along with his brother Digvijay was expelled by Ajay Chautala’s father, former Haryana chief minister and party supremo Om Prakash Chautala, precipitating the crisis in the party.
Striving to project himself as a man forced to fight back after being denied his right, Ajay, alluding to the message of the Pandavs conveyed by Krishna to the Kauravs after his peace mission had failed, said, “Yachana nahin, ab rann hoga (No begging, there will be war now).”
While Ajay Chautala, serving a 10-year jail sentence along with his father in the Haryana junior teacher recruitment scam, said the next course of action will be decided at a rally in Jind on November 17, it was clear that he and his sons were in no mood to accept Abhay Chautala, Ajay’s younger brother, as the political successor to O P Chautala.
Ajay’s wife Naina Chautala, an MLA in Haryana Assembly, has already held public meetings in support of her sons. On Monday, two more Haryana legislators – Anoop Dhanak and Rajdeep Phogat – came out in support of Dushyant, the MP from Hisar. Several Haryana district presidents of the party, the state women’s cell chief and former legislators were also present in Dushyant’s support.
The tone and tenor of Ajay, known for his politeness, was unambiguous and firm as he addressed the supporters on Monday. While he did not mince words, by making reverential references to his father, he ensured that he did not come across as a “bad son”, which the Jat peasantry – the core support base of the INLD – would never appreciate.
“Duryodhan, you will be responsible for the violence (that will follow),” he said, without naming rivals in the party. He also asked supporters not to criticise any INLD office-bearer or family member, stating that “Chaudhary Om Prakash Chautala is our supremo”.
Ajay said Devi Lal, his grandfather and the former Deputy Prime Minister, had first “broken his ties with Om Prakash Chautala and then nominated him his successor and handed over the reins” of the party to his son. He said they will, similarly, “create conditions” that will make Chautala senior say, “Come Dushyant, you are my successor.”
With hundreds of supporters from across Haryana gathered at Dushyant’s house to express solidarity — seen as an effort to build up public pressure on O P Chautala — Ajay said, “People’s power is the biggest power.” He touched a raw nerve when he told the supporters that he would give them no occasion to get humiliated. Without naming his brother Abhay, Ajay Chautala said he is aware that people had been insulted even when they had gone to greet, but “we want your honour first”.
Ajay Chautala also announced a packed tour programme from Tuesday to reach out to the people in the run-up to the November 17 rally at Jind — incidentally the same place where Devi Lal had addressed a historical rally during his “Nyay Yudh” in 1986.
Ajay also plans to visit his mother at the family farmhouse at Teja Khera village in Sirsa district.