Putting aside their differences and political ideologies, the members of the Chautala clan Monday met at the family’s farmhouse in Sirsa district’s Teja Khera. Videos of the Ajay Chautala and Abhay Chautala, two estranged sons of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) president and former Haryana chief minister OP Chautala, meeting amicably, sharing drinks from the same glass and feeding each other from the same plate went viral on social media.
This was only the second time the two brothers met in the past one year after INLD expelled Ajay and his sons Dushyant and Digvijay from the party following which they floated Jannayak Janata Party (JJP). Ajay and Abhay had met a few months ago after the death of their mother Sneh Lata.
The Monday meeting came two days after JJP joined hands with the BJP to form government in the state. Ajay, Abhay were also seen feeding Dushyant, who took oath as the Haryana’s deputy chief minister Sunday, and Digvijay. “The Chautala clan, as part of its tradition since ages, had been getting together at Teja Khera farmhouse every year on the day after Diwali. Today also was no exception. Whatever their political differences may be, but the family makes it a point to greet each other on this occasion, each year. Also, since Ajay was also with the family today and Dushyant has been sworn-in as deputy CM, there were many reasons for the family to celebrate,” said a source close to Chautala family.
Following the family feud last year, and ever since the creation of JJP, the INLD had witnessed a continuous slide. While JJP won 10 seats in the October 21 assembly polls, the INLD could win only one with Abhay retaining Ellenabad constituency.
The Monday meeting triggered a hope among the workers of the two parties that the family feud may end soon. “I had said earlier also that we will force them to rethink. I had said we will create such circumstances that Chaudhary OP Chautala and INLD will be forced to rethink that they took a wrong decision, which affected not only the people of Haryana, but also the family,” PTI quoted Ajay as saying.
“Even now I am saying, he (O P Chautala) should rethink, he is our elder, we respect him. I am always of the belief that division in the family never helps anyone, it only causes loss,” said Ajay, who is out on a two-week furlough from Tihar Jail.
Ajay met his younger brother along with their uncle Ranjit Singh Chautala, who was elected as an independent MLA and was one of the first to offer support to the BJP that had fallen short of the majority mark by six seats. Ranjit is the brother of OP Chautala, and has estranged relations with the Chautala family. Recently, he had described Dushyant to be “like his child”.
The INLD was ousted from the power in Haryana in early 2005 and never regained it since then either on its own or in alliance. With the JJP forming government in alliance with the BJP, many supporters of both the parent outfit INLD as well the splinter JJP were in a celebratory mood Monday. They all had a common refrain: “It is like the end of the 14 years of exile.”
Ahead of the Assembly polls, some `khaps’ and even former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, a family friend of Chautalas, had made efforts for a reconciliation, but it did not work.
(With inputs from PTI)
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