Not Kingmaker but King? Congress May Offer CM Post to Dushyant Chautala, BJP too Reaches Out
With the Haryana polls headed for a nail-biting finish, the JJP leader is much in demand as his party has managed to replace the INLD, which is headed by Dushyant’s uncle Abhay Chautala, as the third force in the state.
File photo of Jannayak Janta Party leader Dushyant Chautala.
With 29 per cent strength, Jat voters are the deciding factor in Haryana. This time, according to early trends, they have put their faith in Jannayak Janata Party’s Dushyant Chautala and have ruled out the Indian National Lok Dal’s political presence in the state. According to sources, the Congress is considering offering the chief minister’s post to Chautala and Bhupinder Singh Hooda has already got in touch with the JJP leader. The BJP too has reportedly sent out feelers.
In the battle for Devi Lal’s legacy, the young Dushyant Chautala seems to have trumped his uncle in Haryana. According to trends around 10.30 am, the JJP has managed to replace the INLD, which is headed by Dushyant’s uncle Abhay Chautala, as the third force in the Haryana assembly elections.
In almost every seat where the INLD, which was founded by former deputy prime minister Devi Lal, enjoyed influence, the JJP has emerged as the inheritor of his legacy and has core support among voters. Following a rift within the Chautala family, INLD suffered a vertical split with former Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala floating the JJP.
The name, incidentally draws from the popular image of Devi Lal, great- grandfather of Dushyant, as “Jannayak”.
In his bid to take the legacy forward, Dushyant was contesting from Uchana Kalan in Jind district, where he is in direct fight with BJP's sitting MLA Prem Lata, wife of former union minister and Rajya Sabha member Birender Singh.
It was his grandfather Om Prakash Chautala who had defeated Singh from the same seat in the 2009 elections. In terms of party-wise vote share, India Today-Axis My India had predicted the BJP would secure 33 per cent votes, the Congress 32 per cent and the JJP 14 per cent votes.
Dushyant, a business administration graduate from California State University, parted ways with the INLD in December 2018 after a bitter vertical split in the party and the Chautala family. Former Member of Parliament Dushyant's father, Ajay Chautala, is the elder son of four-time chief minister and INLD president Om Prakash Chautala.
The INLD, which ruled the state the last time from 2000 to 2004 and was once the main opposition party to the outgoing government, was divided owing to differences between Ajay and Abhay Chautala. Their father remained with the younger son.
Dushyant, who campaigned along with his great-grandfather Devi Lal who was in the fray in 1996 from the Rohtak Lok Sabha seat, in his addresses to supporters during these polls has not only played an emotional chord but also not minced words in taking a dig at his estranged family for severing ties.
Dushyant's campaign has been focused largely on the youth with a promise of more job opportunities, says a political observer. Contrary, the INLD relied more on its patriarch Om Prakash Chautala, who after completing his parole went back to jail on October 8.
He is serving a 10-year jail term in Tihar for his involvement in a teacher recruitment scam. Not lagging behind, Dushyant, who fought on the JJP's symbol in the last Lok Sabha polls and finished second, appealed to the voters this time saying, "The JJP is the real representative of the legacy of Devi Lal.”
Dushyant's JJP had shown its strength in the Jind bypoll in January, where it finished second and Congress national spokesperson Randeep Surjewala finished third.
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