Chautala's conviction may hit INLD poll prospects



Chandigarh: The conviction of former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and his elder son Ajay Singh Chautala in a case pertaining to irregularities in recruitment of junior teachers over a decade back has created ripples in the state's Jat-dominated political landscape.

Questions are being raised about the implications it can have on the electoral prospects of the principal opposition party in the run up to the 2014 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

After yesterday's Delhi court verdict, everyone in Haryana seems to be waiting for January 22, the day the CBI court in Delhi is expected to pronounce the quantum of sentence.

78-year-old Chautala is a veteran Jat leader who wields political clout beyond the boundaries of his state and in recent times has been working to firm up a non-Congress, non-BJP third alternative at the Centre.

Political observers feel his and his son's conviction might deal a blow to his efforts. It could also mean a lot of implications for his Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), a regional outfit, where even second rung leadership finds itself behind the bars.

The party led by Chautala, son of late Deputy Prime Minister and former Haryana Chief Minister late Devi Lal, is Haryana's principal opposition party and regarded as the main challenger to the ruling Congress for next year's Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections.

The political legacy of 'Tau' Devi Lal, who was famous among the Haryana's three Lals - the two other being late Bansi Lal and late Bhajan Lal - has been sullied after the court verdict, they feel.

PTI