Will Haryana have mid-term polls?

Wait and watch says, former CM Om Prakash Chautala, at Jind rally, the first public show of the intent to launch a third front

former CM Om Prakash Chautala

Former Chief Minister of Haryana Om Prakash Chautala, has marked his re-entry into politics at a rally in Jind town today. The rally was to mark the 108th birth anniversary of his father Chaudhary Devi Lal. The event “Samman Divas” is commemorated each year by Chautala-led Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), but had not been held in the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Jind is a family stronghold for the political clan, even after the INLD split after a public family spat in 2018, and  Dushyant Chautala moved out to form the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP). He is the Deputy CM of the state and is being watched closely for his ‘response’, or lack of as accused by some, to the ongoing farmers’ stir against the three farm laws. 

Dushyant Chautala is said to have earned the wrath of the protesting farmers of Haryana who say it was many of their votes that ensured that JJP won ten seats in the 2019 Vidhan Sabha polls. The INLD had managed to win only one seat in the 2019 elections.

The next elections are due in the state only in 2024, however, a month ago Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Om Prakash Chautala had told the Economic Times that a “non-BJP and non-Congress Third Front” will be announced in September at jind. “I have met former prime minister HD Deve Gowda ji, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar ji, Samajwadi party’s Mulayam Singh Yadav ji and KC Tyagi ji. I will be meeting all Opposition party leaders and inviting them for this rally… We will hold a meeting there and decide on the future course of political action. I firmly believe that we will announce a strong non-BJP, non-Congress Third Front there,” he had then said, and has been busy working on this “third front” since his release from Tihar Jail in July where had was served a 10-year term for his involvement in the teacher recruitment scam.

The rally in Jind is the first public expression of the intent to launch a third front, and also perhaps the first step for the INLD to resurrect itself. Its sole MLA Abhay Singh Chautala, had resigned from the Assembly, to “express solidarity” with the protesting farmers. In the past few days, there was talk that Dushyant Chautala may also make a “dramatic exit” and finally express his solidarity with the farming community as well. However that has remained mere chatter on the grapevine so far. Abhay Singh Chautala’s interviews to local media do not indicate that any reconciliation in the family is on the cards yet. However, he did tell the Indian Express that the Jind “rally will set new dimensions in politics of the state.”

The INLD had invited former Prime Minister, HD Deve Gowda, former Punjab CM, Parkash Singh Badal, former UP CM, Mulayam Singh Yadav, former J&K CM, Farooq Abdullah, former Andhra Pradesh CM, N Chandrababu Naidu, TMC leader and former minister, Yaswant Sinha, JDU leader, KC Tyagi, and late Ajit Singh’s son and RLD leader, Jayant Chaudhary to the 25 event reported IE. Many of them did reach and showed solidarity even though many more stayed away due to various reasons.  

According to a report in Dainik Jagran, former Jammu and Kashmir CM Farooq Abdullah, former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, JDU general secretary KC Tyagi, have all attended as did senior BJP leader Chaudhary Birender Singh. A former Union Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh reportedly said that today it was the farmers who were leading a revolution, and added that “Chaudhary Devi Lal was a role model” for him. Veteran politician Farooq Abdullah reportedly said that it was industrialists who were controlling those in power. Farooq Abdullah according to local reports, also spoke of Kashmir and said that that the Centre claims that “terrorism has ended in Kashmir since we abolished 370, but they are lying.” He added that “to end terrorism, the hearts of Kashmiris have to be won” and that , ‘Ram belongs to all, not only to BJP and RSS.”

OP Chautala told the Times of India that he had not met his grandson Dushyant Chautala since the party split, but did not entirely rule out a possible reconciliation, “Our party is a secular party and fights for the common man’s issues. We are not anyone’s enemy. Those who believe in the idea of  our party. Those who believe in the dream of the late Devi Lal and want to fulfil it we will welcome them” adding “there is every possibility of mid-term polls in Haryana. Wait and watch”.



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