Jind: Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) supremo Om Prakash Chautala today hit out at Congress for sending him to prison to crush his party's struggle and vowed he will take oath as Chief Minister from Tihar jail.
"I was put behind bars due to wrong policies (of Congress) and its wishful thinking that it will end the struggle of INLD. Rather, in my absence the party has strengthened," the 79-year-old Jat leader, who is behind bars after being convicted for ten years along with others in a teachers recruitment scandal, said here.
Chautala is presently out on bail on health grounds. He and his son Ajay have been sentenced to 10-year prison term after being found guilty in a teacher recruitment scam while others in the case have been awarded varying jail terms.
Addressing a rally here in the Jat heartland organised to mark the 100th birth anniversary of late Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, also popular as messiah of farmers, Chautala told the gathering that "your presence in large numbers here has obliterated the wishful thinking of Congress."
Taking a dig at his opponents for claiming that he will not be able to return to public life, Chautala asked his workers not to get afraid and asserted that he will become the next Chief Minister.
"I will take oath as CM from Tihar jail," he said, exuding confidence that INLD had been strengthened in his absence.
Chautala, who appeared for the first time in a public meeting after his conviction in the JBT scandal in February last year, said he was not afraid of jail. "I am not afraid of jail...The government sent me in prison by projecting me as a criminal," he said.
"The day I was born, my father Devi Lal was in jail...I spent time in jail for the cause of farmers, employees and also during the days of emergency," he said. Chautala said he was not greedy for power. "INLD's only aim is to end mis-governance of Congress," he said.
Chuatala in his brief address refrained from attacking BJP. He did not mention any word against the saffron party which is testing the electoral waters in Haryana on its own for the first time since the creation of state in 1966.
He, however, made a veiled attack on other political parties urging the gathering to teach a lesson to those who want to attain power in the state by giving tickets to rebels from other political outfits.
Chautala's speech veered around contributions of Devi Lal. He said Devi Lal brought Haryana on the list of respected states of the country. "Our only target should be to end (Congress) mis-governance," he told the voters.
INLD's aim is to put Haryana on the path of development and ensure that each and every citizen of the state becomes prosperous. Talking about the candidates fielded by the INLD, he said, "All of them are good."
He, however, said if any mistake was made in selection of party candidate then also the people should not forget to vote for INLD. "Remember if INLD's candidates win, I will become the CM," he said.
He assured them that even in case he remained in jail for the entire life, his party will thrive to provide employment to three lakh people. Besides, the INLD will give unemployment allowance to educated youth of the state who are not in jobs.
"I have no greed for power. I promise you we will form the next government in Haryana ad nobody can stop it," he said. He promised house and clothes to each poor, medical treatment to the need and good education to youth. "We will fulfil the dreams of Devi Lal by making Haryana a welfare state," he said.
Seeking to strike a chord with those who are unhappy with INLD, he said, "The need is to reach out to everyone and take one and all together to get Haryana rid of polluted environment."
Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, JD-U leader Nitish Kumar and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda were present.