Sat Singh Diary
19 August, 2020.
Till Tuesday afternoon, the next following day was planned to go like any other day but a call from a colleague to visit Baroda By-poll set the ball rolling.
How can a hard-core journalist miss the opportunity to witness the election environment especially a by-election when a lot is at stake of government & opposition?
As per commitment, I took my car to my colleague place to pick him little late than 9 am. Like a true Indian, he was also running behind the schedule.
Sharing giggles, political jokes and anecdotes, when we were about to reach Gohana, we tried to find out the whereabouts of Abhay Singh Chautala.
A local party leader informed that he is residing at the house of Prem Malik and Chautala is still at the residence.
Prem Malik is a known name in political circles but it took us a while to find out his residence with the help of another journalist who joined us near the bustling market of Gohana.
Abhay Singh Chautala was holding a meeting inside a palatial house unexpected of a small city like Gohana sub-division of Sonipat district.
Upon passing a message through the ears of one of the heavy-built guy about our interest in meeting him with reference to journalist identities.
We were welcomed inside the house, where about 20-30 persons appearing to be belonging to rural areas of Baroda constituency, were listening to him with rapt attention.
All were in awe of Abhay Singh.
The colleague of mine was known to him prior so Abhay greeted him by name. He introduced me to Abhay Singh.
I however, had to remind him about me.
I have been reporting since 2009 Ellenabad election when he won despite being in opposition when previous Congress government was in power.
It seemed it was enough to assure him about my credentials of a good reporter with practical knowledge of reporting.
He invited us to trail him to Bichpadi village some 8 to 10kms from Gohana on Jind road.
Before Abhay Singh Chautala reached, people had gathered at village Scheduled Caste Chaupal.
The fleet of four-wheelers parked outside the Chaupal, loud speakers blaring exerting pressure on ear-drum gave us sufficient hint about the venue.
“Chautala Na aa raha, uska chhora aa raha sa. chhote se ya bada sa nu na baira”, said a middle-aged man while informing someone on phone.
Unlike of a disciplined public gathering witnessed at the Indian National Lok Dal meetings, there was chaos with children/youngsters roaming on the rooftops.
The elders while patiently fixed in chairs waiting for the speaker while many others sat on the mat.
Tagging behind, the army of YouTubers & some local journalists opened their telecast on their mobile cameras to record the speech.
Donning white kurta-pyajama, Abhay addressed the crowd for about 20 minutes and people listen to him.
He focused his speech on dubbing BJP government anti-farmer, anti-common and talked in details about the three ordinances related to the farming community.
Interestingly, in his full speech, he did not utter even a single word about Congress party or former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Generally, locals expect a political leader to bash his rivals in a way that tickle their funny bone but this time it was amiss.
Just before the rain accompanied by windstorm about to peak up, he finished up his speech and left to attend a tea program in neighborhood.
We followed him as local media persons informed that he would address a Press Conference there.
Coincidentally, there was a power cut in the host house also but Abhay started the PC as soon as he sipped his tea.
“Sabhi Aa gaye, Kare Shuru”, Abhay said in an authoritative tone.
I chanced upon asking two important questions in the PC.
He answers both of the questions patiently.
I however was not satisfied with that but glad that he did not lose his patience on unfavorable queries.
Abhay Singh has mellowed done was the voice coming from inside in comparison to what I saw him during political campaign in 2009 at Ellenabad by-election.
Just to tell readers, I have been attending press conferences of Abhay Chautala since 2009 so was aware of his style, attitude & temperament.
It started raining like cats & dogs as the PC got over. Some of the people suggested Abhay to wait till it gets over as it would drench him otherwise.
Braving the rain, Abhay reached his SUV door parked nearby and signed off to his next meeting in another village.
With him gone, what I missed the most during the day today was the roar of Abhay Singh.