Sr Chautala in jail, INLD`s 2nd rung leaders keep party afloat

With party`s senior leaders, including its president Om Prakash Chautala in jail, it was going to be an acid test for second rung leaders of INLD in the Lok Sabha polls and they managed to create some impression.

PTI| Last Updated: May 16, 2014, 23:17 PM IST

Chandigarh: With party`s senior leaders, including its president Om Prakash Chautala in jail, it was going to be an acid test for second rung leaders of INLD in the Lok Sabha polls and they managed to create some impression.

Former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and his MLA-son and senior leader Ajay Singh Chautala are lodged in a jail in Delhi for the past 16 months in connection with a scam in recruitment of Junior Basic Teachers (JBT) in the state nearly 14 years back.

With INLD`s tallest leader ever Devi Lal no longer alive and Om Prakash Chautala behind the bars, the party`s poll campaign was spearheaded by its leaders, including Abhay Singh Chautala (53), state unit chief Ashok Arora, another leader Ramphal Majra and Devi Lal`s great grandsons--Dushyant and Digvijay.

Indian National Lok Dal has managed to win two seats -- Sirsa (SC) and Hisar -- defeating strong candidates and sitting MPs.

26-year-old US-educated Dushyant, son of Ajay Singh Chautala, sprang a surprise humbling sitting MP from Hisar and HJC president Kuldeep Bishnoi.

The party also opened its account winning the Sirsa reserved seat, where its candidate Charanjeet Singh Rori defeated Haryana Congress chief and sitting MP Ashok Tanwar.

According to political pundits, in the absence of its senior leaders, the focus had shifted on INLD`s second rung leaders as the party desperately needed to win few seats in the Parliamentary polls to keep its fortunes alive, especially when state Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in October.

An INLD-BJP government was in place from 1999 to 2004. After former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal`s demise 13 years back, the INLD had failed to win a single Lok Sabha seat and also lost two Assembly polls (2005 and 2009) in a row.
INLD fought the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on its own and had fielded candidates on all ten Parliamentary seats after the party`s attempts earlier to forge a tie-up with BJP failed to bear fruit.

The BJP, which had its alliance with INLD earlier before both parted ways nearly a decade back, is currently in alliance with HJC. While the saffron party contested eight seats, the Bishnoi`s party had fielded its candidates on two constituencies--Hisar and Sirsa and lost both the seats.
With HJC losing both the two seats, the tie-up with the BJP for the forthcoming assembly elections was now a matter of time, INLD sources claimed.