Amid the ongoing battle for one-upmanship in the Chautala family that helms the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), the main opposition in Haryana Assembly, Legislature party leader Abhay Singh Chautala on Friday held a meeting with INLD MLAs and announced launch of a rath yatra from Kurukshetra on December 1.
Thirteen of INLD’s 18 MLAs attended the meeting called by Abhay, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in Assembly, including the son of Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, who could not attend since he was unwell, according to information.
Elder brother Ajay, meanwhile, claimed that the party belongs to his family, and there is no reason why they should stake claim to it. “Dawa kis liye karenge jab hai hi hamari (What is point in staking claim when it is already ours),” Ajay remarked while interacting with journalists in Hansi town of Hisar district.
Ajay said people stake claims only when they see something being snatched from them. “It would be made clear on November 17 who the party belongs to, and who enjoys support of workers,” said Ajay Chautala.
Ajay, serving a 10-year jail term along with father and party supremo O P Chautala, has already announced a rally, to be held in Jind on November 17, to announce their next course of action. His legislator-wife Naina Chautala is scheduled to hold a show of strength at Abhay’s Assembly segment, Ellenabad, with a rally of women during his programme ‘Hari Chunri Chaupal’ on November 16.
On Friday, Abhay met INLD legislators, party presidents of district and Assembly segment units and former MLAs at his residence in Sirsa. One of the party’s two Lok Sabha MPs, Charanjeet Singh Rori, was present in the meeting.
Dushyant Chautala, elder son of Ajay and the other INLD Lok Sabha member, was not present. Dushyant and younger brother Digvijay’s expulsion from INLD, on charges of alleged indiscipline, has increased the crisis between Ajay and Abhay Chautala. The Ajay camp believes party supremo O P Chautala expelled the duo at the behest of Abhay.
Among the five INLD MLAs who failed to turn up at the meeting called by Abhay Chautala is Pirthi Singh Nambardar, who had reportedly informed the party leadership on Thursday that he will skip Friday’s meeting because of some urgent work. The others who skipped the meet are Naina Chautala, Anoop Dhanak, Rajdeep Phogat and Nagender Bhadana.
Naina, Dhanak and Phogat have publicly backed Dushyant; Bhadana is known for his proximity to the BJP. INLD’s lone Rajya Sabha MP, Ram Kumar Kashyap, was present in the meeting.
Asked about the meeting, Abhay Chautala said that he, as the leader of INLD MLAs, can call a meeting of party MLAs any time.
Denying any infighting in the family, Abhay today told local journalists in Sirsa, “You (media) are the cause of this dispute. Ajay Chautala is my elder brother. I was scheduled to meet him at 10 am today but Ajay had to go somewhere.”