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Amid Speculation Over INLD-BJP Alliance in Haryana, Abhay Chautala Meets CM Khattar in Delhi

File photo of INLD senior leader Abhay Singh Chautala.

File photo of INLD senior leader Abhay Singh Chautala.

Chautala, who was recently removed as the leader of opposition in the Haryana Assembly, was accompanied by state party president Ashok Arora.

Delhi/Chandigarh: Amidst speculation of a tie-up between the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala met Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in Delhi early Monday morning.

Chautala, who was recently removed as the leader of opposition in the Haryana Assembly, was accompanied by state party president Ashok Arora.

Confirming that he and Chautala had met the chief minister, Arora, however, cited ‘personal reasons’ for the meeting which took place at the Haryana Bhawan in the national capital.

The BJP has announced candidates on eight of the 10 parliamentary constituencies in Haryana. It is yet to decide a candidate for Hisar and Rothak constituencies.

In 2014, the INLD had won two Lok Sabha seats of Hisar and Sirsa (SC).

A frontrunner for forming a government in the state until a year ago, the INLD is in shambles ever since its Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala engineered a split in the party and formed the Jananayak Janata Party (JJP). Post the split, the INLD fared miserably in the 2018 Jind bypolls with its candidate forfeiting his security deposit.

Dushyant had won in 2014 on INLD ticket defeating Kuldip Bishnoi by a slender margin of 30,000 votes. Bishnoi had then contested as a candidate of his Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) which had entered into a coalition with the BJP. Another of his candidate had lost from Sirsa. Bishnoi merged his HJC with the Congress in 2016.

In Sirsa, Charanjit Singh Rodhi of the INLD had defeated the Congress state president Ashok Tanwar by a margin of over 1.5 lakh votes. HJC-BJP candidate Sushil Indora had bagged 2.4 lakh votes.

The BJP has already announced Sunita Duggal as its candidate for the Sirsa seat. Duggal is poised against Tanwar, whose candidature is yet to be formally declared.

Since the BJP is fighting on its own in Sirsa, any truck with the INLD can prove to be beneficial. Similarly, in Hisar, the BJP will require INLD’s support as it still has a considerable base even after Dushyant Chautala’s exit.

With Bishnoi again slated to contest from Hisar, on Congress ticket this time, and Dushyant seeking a re-election, the Hisar seat becomes even more interesting. The seat has been bagged by the Congress, HJC and the INLD in 2004, 2009 and 2014, respectively.

In the Congress bastion of Rohtak, the BJP is yet to declare its candidate against the three-time MP Deepender Singh Hooda. Rothak was the only Lok Sabha segment which the BJP lost in 2014 by 1.7 lakh votes. Shamsher Singh Kharkara of the INLD stood third with 1.5 lakh votes.

For the INLD, the truck with the BJP will help it revive is future prospects in the state. Pertinently, former chief minister and INLD supremo Om Prakash Chautala has been batting for a coalition with the BJP.

The two parties have entered into a coalition in the state earlier too. The alliance ruled the state for five years from 1999 onwards, and collapsed in 2004 following serious differences between OP Chautala and the state BJP leaders. In 2009, the BJP again parted way with the INLD just ahead of the Assembly polls.