A TEN-MONTH old party, a 31-year-old leader and ten seats in its kitty in the first Assembly polls it contested: the Janta Jannayak Party (JJP) has emerged as the talking point in this Haryana Assembly polls.
Party leader Dushyant Chautala, who won from Uchana Kalan by a wide margin of over 40,000 votes, is a business graduate from California State University and has also studied at NLU. The great grandson of former deputy prime minister Devi Lal, who became an MP at the age of 26, has around 8 lakh followers on Facebook and over a lakh followers on Twitter. Party officials say the average age of their supporter is 38, and the average age of their candidate in Vidhan Sabha is 40 years.
Dushyant’s core team however, is a mix of the young and old. Party members say this team works on the principle of taking experience from seniors and fielding youngsters. Meet the team that was working behind the scenes to propel this new party to the frontline this election:
Digvijay Chautala, 28
Digvijay, Dushyant’s younger brother, is the national chief of the Indian National Student organisation (INSO) — the student cell of the JJP. Digvijay is known for his aggressive speeches on public issues. In this campaign, he focused on enrolling college students and first-time voters.
Abhai Maurya, 60Abhai Maurya is an author and former vice-chancellor of Central University of English and Foreign languages, Hyderabad. He is described as chief of the manifesto committee.
Nishan Singh, 63
Nishan Singh, the state president of JJP, is a former MLA from Tohana. He left the INLD and joined Dushyant after the latter formed the JJP.
Nishan vacated his seat this time for young JJP candidate Devinder Babli, who defeated BJP’s state president Subash Barala. “The party works on the principle of giving way to youngsters and taking experience from seniors. JJP campaigned with this formula this time,” said Nishan’s supporter.
Nishan has been chief of the farmers’ cell in INLD’s tenure and has a strong grip on farmer issues. Being a Kamboj Sikh, he worked primarily in the Punjabi-dominated areas of Haryana.
Dr K C Bangar, 65
Dr Bangar, who holds a doctorate in philosophy, is the national secretary of the JJP. He had twice contested elections from Gohana on an INLD ticket, but lost. He was chairman of the Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) when Om Parkash Chautala was the chief minister. He has also served as national spokesperson of the INLD, but quit the party in November 2018 when Ajay Chautala was expelled. Dr Bangar chose to go with Dushyant after resigning from INLD and is considered the “think tank” of the party. . He was instrumental in policy framing in the JJP’s manifesto.
Jasbir Singh Beniwal, 46
Jasbir Singh Beniwal is a commercial pilot who worked as an honorary pilot for the Government of India for 75 hours. He was instrumental in forging the JJP-AAP alliance during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Haryana. Speaking to The Indian Express, he said, “I don’t hold a post in party but I handle the election campaign and give suggestions to the party and even Dushyant from time to time.”
He further said, “I used to paste posters of Ajay Chautalaji in 1993 in Nauhar constituency when he contested elections. I was 20 at that time. That is how I started working with the party. I remained connected with Ajayji since then and now I am with his son Dushyant.” He still flies, but as a hobby.
Nitin Sherawat, 30
Nitin Sherawat handles social media for Dushyant and the JJP.
According to Sherawat, there are over 50 Facebook pages on Dushyant, including ‘Dushyant ka Dewaana’, ‘Mukhyamantri Dushyant Chautala’, ‘Dushyant ke fan’ etc.
“On October 19 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke at a rally in Hisar, a total of 4.55 lakh people watched his rally during a Facebook Live session. On the same day, Dushyant addressed a rally in Dadri, which was watched by 7.56 lakh people,” he said. “Youths form the majority of the crowd attending our rallies,” he said.