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Dushyant's JJP Emerges as True Heir to Devi Lal's Legacy as INLD Faces Rout in Traditional Strongholds

File photo of Haryana Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala.

File photo of Haryana Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala.

Dushyant Chautala’s JJP, which came into existence only last year after splitting from the INLD, seemed to have emerged as the true heir of former deputy PM and INLD founder Chaudhry Devi Lal.

New Delhi: In a significant development, which could potentially change the face of Haryana politics in the years to come, Om Prakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has been nearly wiped off in the Assembly elections in its traditional strongholds of Hisar, Jind and Bhiwani districts.

Of the 22 seats that are believed to be Chautala strongholds in the state, INLD could only secure Ellenabad, won by Abhay Singh Chautala.

Dushyant Chautala’s Jananayak Janata Party (JJP), which came into existence only last year after splitting from the INLD, seemed to have emerged as the true heir of former deputy prime minister and INLD founder Chaudhary Devi Lal.

Dushyant, a business administration graduate from California State University, parted ways with the INLD in December 2018. He is the son of former member of Parliament Ajay Chautala, who is the elder son of four-time chief minister and INLD president Om Prakash Chautala.

JJP, which made its debut in the state polls, won eight seats across these 22 Assembly segments — the highest by any party. It was followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with seven seats and Congress with four constituencies, while the remaining were secured by Independents.

As far as the INLD’s drubbing is concerned, here’s a sample — it had won 12 of these 22 seats in 2014 even when the BJP, riding on the Narendra Modi wave, had swept the state with 47 Assembly seats. The saffron party could secure only six seats in the region while the remaining seats went to others.

Similarly, the INLD had won 11 of these seats in 2009 followed by the Congress with five seats.

On the other end of the spectrum, it turned out to be a memorable first outing for the JJP as in all likelihood, it may play a kingmaker’s role in the state.

While Dushyant Chautala himself won from Uchana Kalan — a seat which his grandfather and INLD supremo Om Prakash had won in 2009 — with a massive 67 per cent of vote-share, his party won the Julana, Narwal, Sirsa, Uklana, Narnaund, Barwala and Badhra seats all of which are considered Chautala strongholds.

Having campaigned for his great-grandfather Devi Lal in Rohtak in 1996, Dushyant, this time, played the emotion card well in his poll addresses, even as he did not mince words while taking a dig at his estranged family for severing ties.

At present, the JJP is sitting comfortably at the third position in the state behind the BJP and Congress and hoping to a play a key role in forming the next government in the state.