Ups & Downs of Devi Lal Brand Politics

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Today, the famous Devi Lal brand of Haryana politics is divided among his sons and grandchildren. One is represented by the Indian National Lok Dal led by Abhay Chautala. The second faction is led by Ajay Chautala, the second son of Om Prakash Chautala serving jail term for corruption charges.

This group came into existence before the 2019 assembly elections, when the family’s fight came out in the open. In 1989, Devi Lal turned down the Prime Ministerial proposal and gave it to VP Singh. This was his biggest political mistake. But after this, the political downfall of Devi Lal started, which continued till his death in 2001. At the same time, Professor SS Chahar, former director of the Center of Haryana Studies, says that the biggest mistake was made by Om Prakash Chautala at a rally in Gohana in October 2018.

When he removed his elder son Ajay Chautala and his two sons – Dushyant and Digvijay – from the party on charges of indiscipline.

Professor Chahar says, “There are no two opinions in this that there was no competition against the popularity of Devi Lal.” But politics is the name of capitalizing on the opportunities available.

Many people say that in 1989 Devi Lal sacrificed her position as the Prime Minister. But, I believe it was a very stupid decision. ”Professor Chahar says that Devi Lal did not return to power in Haryana after regaining the post of Deputy Prime Minister. While his son Om Prakash Chautala was once the Chief Minister of Haryana from the year 2000 to 2005. However, today the political heirs of Devi Lal stand on shaky wickets.

If we consider the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as a barometer of the popularity of the Indian National Lok Dal, then the Indian National Lok Dal got only 2 percent of the votes in this election. At the same time, the performance of the Jananayak Janata Party, which broke away from it, was also not worthy. JJP nominated Digvijay Singh, grandson of Devi Lal, in the assembly by-election in Jind. But, he lost to BJP’s new candidate Krishna Midha. Midha’s father was an Indian National Lok Dal MLA from Jind. This seat was vacated after his death, due to which by-elections were held in 2019. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Digvijay Singh contested against Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Sonepat. However, his performance was so bad that his bond money was forfeited.

Haryana Journalist Dharmendar Kanwari, who works for a national newspaper, says that the path ahead looks very bleak for the Chautala family in electoral politics. In the era of Devi Lal, this political family was politically very powerful. But now the situation is such that Om Prakash Chautala, who was sworn in as Chief Minister for five times, is in jail today.

Om Prakash Chautala’s eldest son Ajay Chautala was sometimes called Devi Lal’s image due to his humility and soft attitude towards people. But, today he is also in jail. Before the split in the family, it was believed that the Indian National Lok Dal would return to power in Haryana. However, today the entire party is scattered.

Hitender Rao, Assistant Editor of Hindustan Times in Chandigarh, says about the current situation that Om Prakash Chautala had worked hard after becoming the Chief Minister. He toured the entire state and strengthened his party across the state. His scope was expanded. Rao says, ‘Despite his physical weakness, Om Prakash Chautala’s work was astonishing. His grandsons got everything decorated in plates. They are nothing in front of them. ‘

Hitender Rao says that today the situation has changed 360 degrees for Om Prakash Chautala. According to Rao, “There was a time when the party was completely under his command and ruled by him by his fist.” Once as Chief Minister, Om Prakash Chautala was the organization minister of Haryana at that time and today Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was thrown out when he was meeting with allies of the alliance. This incident took place in the CM Suite of Haryana Bhawan, Delhi. Khattar then went to discuss some issues of the alliance with him. “Today, the alliance of the Indian National Lok Dal has broken even with Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party. At the same time, the BJP is not ready to give a sentiment to regional allies due to internal slamming.

Devi Lal’s charisma

Professor Chahar says that the most important Lal of Haryana Politics Devi Lal belonged to Sirsa district in Haryana. However, his political status grew when he was elected as an MLA from Meham Assembly seat in Rohtak district. First he entered the corridors of power in Chandigarh and then his threat reached Delhi. But, Devi Lal never lost her ground grip. He was always in touch with the rural people of the state.

Satish Tyagi, author of Politics of Chaudhar, says that this split is not new to the Devi Lal family. In 1989, Devi Lal chose Om Prakash Chautala as his political successor. The reason for this was Chautala’s organizational ability and good political understanding. At that time, Ranjit Singh, Devi Lal’s elder son, used to deal with Devi Lal’s political affairs.

Till that time both Om Prakash Chautala and Ranjit Singh, both brothers were doing politics under the shadow of Devi Lal. But, when the situation became such that he had to take the post of Deputy Prime Minister in VP Singh’s government, then Devi Lal preferred Om Prakash Chautala over Ranjit Singh. Similarly, when the time came to decide in 2018, Om Prakash Chautala preferred his younger son Abhay Chautala over Ajay Chautala’s sons Dushyant and Digvijay.

Future of Indian National Lok Dal and Jananayak Janata Party?

In the 2019 year’s assembly elections, both the Indian National Lok Dal and Jananayak Janata Party are trying to woo the voters by claiming the rich political legacy of Devi Lal. But, due to the split in the party in recent years, today the old party workers are standing at the crossroads. And supporters have also lost their attachment to the popular Lal’s clan. The Jat voters of Haryana used to stand firmly with Devi Lal, they are not with her today. Bhupinder Singh Hooda made a dent in this strong vote bank of the Indian National Lok Dal. Then BJP also hit the vote bank of INLD.

Factions that claim Devi Lal’s legacy have to understand that no one is good with the sharing of power. He should always remember this lesson of history.

Teja Pahalwan, another former INLD candidate from Bahadurgarh, says that both families should join hands instead of humiliating each other. Because this battle is not beneficial for anyone. The Teja wrestler says that the Indian National Lok Dal has been out of power for the last 15 years. It is very difficult to manage supporters and vote banks by staying in opposition for so long.

Ramesh Dalal, the head of Dalal Khap, also tried to bring Ajay and Abhay Chautala’s families together. For this, he also took the help of an old family friend of the Chautala family and former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. However, Ajay Chautala’s young and ambitious sons refused to be on board of the sinking ship of INLD. 

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