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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The other Chautalas: After bitter split, JJP eyes INLD votes in Haryana

After a bitter split in the Chautala family, then MP Dushyant Chautala had formed the JJP in 2018, followed by a formal split in the INLD led by former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala.

Written by Sukhbir Siwach | Chandigarh | Updated: October 10, 2019 4:23:56 am
Badhra candidate Naina Chautala at a rally in Haryana. (Source: JJP)

LESS THAN a year after its formation, the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) of Dushyant Chautala is attempting to firmly establish itself in Haryana politics. While it is contesting 87 seats in the 90-member Assembly, party members claimed its candidates are among the main players in over 30 seats.

After a bitter split in the Chautala family, then MP Dushyant Chautala had formed the JJP in 2018, followed by a formal split in the INLD led by former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala. The JJP performed much better than INLD in the Jind bypoll (Krishan Midha of BJP had defeated nearest rival JJP’s Digvijay Chautala by 12,395 votes, and INLD’s Umed Redhu had polled just 3,454 votes). In the recent Lok Sabha polls too, when all seats went to BJP, JJP had led in one Assembly segment while INLD led in none. So while the INLD faced several desertions, the JJP attracted many local leaders.

Now, the JJP is trying to emerge as a strong political force in the state. “As many as 90 per cent of the followers of Chaudhary Devi Lal have already shifted to JJP. The people in Haryana still believe in the policies and principles of Devi Lal. JJP is in the main contest with BJP and Congress,” claimed JJP Secretary General K C Bangar.


May dent INLD’s image as strongest regional party

The split in the Chautala family nearly decimated the INLD, which faced several desertions even as the JJP attracted several local leaders with its performance in the Jind bypoll and the Lok Sabha elections. If the Jat vote consolidates in JJP’s favour in the October 21 polls, it may dent the INLD’s image as the strongest regional party in Haryana.

With the leadership in the hands of young leaders Dushyant and his brother Digvijay, the JJP has tried to give a modern outlook to the party by opting for a high-tech poll campaign and keeping the issues faced by young voters in focus.

Dushyant will contest Assembly polls from Uchana Kalan constituency of Jind district where he is taking on Rajya Sabha MP Birender Singh’s wife and MLA Prem Lata. It’s being seen as an attempt to remain in the limelight during poll season, apart from an effort to emerge as a leader of farmers, following the footprints of his grandfather and former deputy chief minister Devi Lal.

Dushyant’s mother Naina Chautala has been fielded from Badhra, where she will face BJP MLA Sukhwinder Mandi and Congress’ Ranbir Mahindra, who is the son of former chief minister Bansi Lal.

The JJP has high hopes from Tohana constituency of Fatehabad district where it has fielded Devener Babli against BJP state president Subhash Barala and Congress’s Paramvir Singh, a former minister and close associate of former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Babli was aspiring for a Congress ticket but left the grand old party after being denied one.

JJP’s eyes are also on Guhla Cheeka constituency where it has fielded former Congress Rajya Sabha MP Ishwar Singh. The party had given him a ticket just hours after he joined hands with Dushyant a week ago.

Anoop Dhanak, who had won the 2014 Assembly election from Uklana seat of Hisar district as an INLD candidate, is JJP’s candidate from the seat this time. “If Congress rebel and former MLA Naresh Selwal as an independent candidate performs well from this seat, it will harm the prospects of Congress candidate Bala Devi. In these circumstances, we may win this seat,” said a JJP leader.

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