A day after Ajay Chautala’s release from Tihar Jail on a two-week furlough, and indications that he and his family are ready to take on his sibling, Abhay Chautala, for leadership of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), both sides reached out to gather support on Tuesday.
While Ajay met supporters at Jhajjar, Dadri, Bhiwani, Hansi, Hisar and Fatehabad, before heading for hometown and family borough Sirsa, to garner support for MP-son Dushyant, Abhay met BSP chief Mayawati in Delhi.
While officially the two met to discuss political developments in Haryana and the country, and to extend Diwali greetings, the development is being seen with interest since the BSP and INLD recently announced that they would contest the next Haryana Assembly elections in alliance.
Dushyant and his brother Digvijay’s expulsion from the party, by their grandfather and party supremo Om Prakash Chautala, has precipitated the internal crisis in the INLD, with the Ajay camp apprehending that it’s a ploy by Abhay Chautala to wrest party leadership.
Meanwhile, Dushyant, met Union minister and BJP MP from Gurgaon Rao Inderjit Singh at his residence in New Delhi, fuelling speculation in political circles. While an official close to Rao Inderjit called it a courtesy call ahead of Diwali, the Union minister is known to harbour dreams of becoming CM, and had held a rally in Haryana’s Jhajjar district a few months ago, seen as a show of strength by the BJP MP.
According to Dushyant’s associates, Ajay Chautala called the party’s action against Dushyant and Digvijay as “personal” acts of “selfishness”, and that rivals in INLD are upset because of the young leaders’ popularity.
Sources close to Ajay said the family will claim the INLD symbol and flag if they finally decide to go to split. The family, as of now, insists that they will not form a new political outfit.
While Ajay Chautala had on Monday said, “Yachana nahin, ab rann hoga (no begging, there will be war now)”, seen as an indication that he is ready to take on his sibling, his supporters have set eyes on November 17, when he is scheduled to address a rally in Jind town, where his grandfather and former deputy PM Devi Lal, had addressed a historic rally in 1986.
Ajay’s wife Naina Chautala, an MLA in Haryana Assembly, has already held public meetings in support of her sons.
On Monday, Haryana legislators Anoop Dhanak and Rajdeep Phogat came out in support of Dushyant. Several Haryana district presidents of the party, the state women’s cell chief and former legislators were also present when Ajay addressed supporters at Dushyant’s New Delhi residence.