Issue :   
December 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         December 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:December' 2018


A feuding political family

V.P. Prabhakar

Dushyant, Digvijay and OP Chautala The drastic step taken by Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) supremo OP Chautala expelling from the party his two grandsons and brothers Dushyant, an MP, and Digvijay, President of the student wing of the INLD, has led to the declaration to form another party by his disgruntled elder son, Ajay Chautala. This is what was expected after the party found itself in the grip of a crisis.
However, such a situation has not arisen for the first time in the party. Former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, who had founded the party, had two sons, Om Prakash Chautala, and Ranjit Singh. Devi Lal was in favour of Om Prakash Chautala leading the party. He was not caring for Ranjit Singh, which resulted in Ranjit Singh joining the Congress and Om Prakash becoming the INLD chief.
The gulf in the party had become apparent to the public for the first time when Dushyant’s supporters booed Abhay at INLS’s rally at Gohana on October 7, 2018. Internal discord in the INLD was on full display this Diwali as brothers Ajay and Abhay held separate ‘Diwali Milan’ events on November 7, apparently for the first time. While elder brother Ajay Chautala, who is out on parole from Delhi’s Tihar Jail, met his supporters at the family home, Chautala House, in Sirsa, leader of opposition Abhay Chautala went to a Tejakhera farm to be with his well-wishers.
“Ram-Rami” is a prominent event observed by the Jat community in Haryana and nearby Rajasthan a day after Diwali when younger people visit their elders in the village, including parents and grand-parents, to seek their blessings. Since Devi Lal’s time it has been a tradition in the Chautala clan that all male members would sit on the lawns of their ancestral Tejakhera farm house in Sirsa, as the INLD supporters from across Haryana visited them to wish “Ram- Rami” for Diwali festival.
Sources said Ajay Singh as well as his MP son, Dushyant Chautala, went to the main chowk of Tejakhera village where a statue of Chaudhary Devi Lal stands and came back after paying homage to him. The father-son duo did not visit the Tejakhera farm house, owned by patriarch Om Prakash Chautala.
Conveying festive greetings to his supporters, MP Dushyant said that in the next two weeks his father would gauge public opinion through a series of meetings and would decide the future course of action at a rally in Jind on November17. He said the meeting of the state body of the party would be convened soon.
Meanwhile, Dushyant’s visit to Union Minister of State for External Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh’s residence a day before Diwali gave a new twist to the current family feud. Dushyant remained closeted with the Union Minister for over an hour. Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who had a long association with the Chautala family, was learnt to be trying to resolve the INLD feud even as Abhay Singh Chautala and his elder brother Ajay Singh addressed party workers separately on November 9.
The Akali leader invited him and his son Dushyant to his village, Badal. He stepped in when approached by some members of the Chautala family. Dushyant said he was not aware of any such move.
Abhay Singh, at a meeting of MLAs and members of the state executive at Sirsa, declared that he was prepared to meet his elder brother whenever he was called. “I have always given him respect but he went on him calling me Duryodhana and taking action against those who used a derogatory language”, Abhay added. Six out of 18 MLAs of the INLD, including Ajay Singh’s wife Naina Chautala, did not attend a meeting called by Abhay Singh on November 9. Abhay announced in this meeting about taking out a ‘Kisan Adhikar Rath Yatra’ in December. While that event is yet to be held, the INLD feud has finally led to a split in the party which once ruled Haryana with OP Chautala as Chief Minister.

Punished for raising questions

Sukhpal Khaira and Kanwar Sandhu After dithering for months, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on November 3 suspended its two rebel MLAs in Punjab, Sukhpal Khaira and journalist-turned-politician Kanwar Sandhu, from the primary membership of the party. They have been charged with continuously indulging in antiparty activities and attacking leaders both in Delhi and in the state.
The party, however, has not taken any action against six other MLAs who have been backing the rebels. AAP has 19 MLAs in the 117-seat Punjab Assembly. Dakha MLA H. S. Phoolka has resigned from the assembly but the Speaker has not officially accepted his resignation. If it is accepted, AAP’s number will drop to 18.
Khaira said: “The anti-defection law has given dictatorial powers to the party president. Arvind Kejriwal has taken this decision to choke my voice like the Akalis had done by putting false cases on me.” He announced to form a new front to fight for Punjab.
“The core committee had decided to suspend them immediately after exhausting all the available avenues to assuage them see reason. Though eight of the 20 party MLAs had rebelled against the party, it has suspended the two only. The decision is seen as an attempt to isolate Khaira and Sandhu from other leaders and MLAs backing them. Khaira cannot set up or join any other political party without attracting the anti-defection law until he has the support of 14 legislators (two-thirds of the total strength of the party).
Khaira had staged a rebellion after he was removed from the post of Leader of Opposition (LOP) and was replaced by Harpal Singh Cheema.
With their suspension, Khaira and Sandhu have joined numerous party leaders, including Patiala MP Dharamvira Gandhi and his Fatehgurusahib counterpart Harinder Singh Khalsa, against whom similar disciplinary action has been taken by the party.
Criticising Kejriwal, Khaira said: “The Delhi Chief Minister praises Haryana but criticizes Punjab over rising pollution in the capital.
Experts have clearly said that Punjab farmers are not responsible for pollution levels in the national capital.” Reacting to Khaira’s suspension, Dr Gandhi said: “It is unfortunate that dictatorship is continuing in AAP." He said the party is not even tolerating any difference of opinion. Transparency and democracy are must in a political party.

Two instances of good gesture

Captain Abhimanyu Two instances of a good gesture could be described as unique on the social front. These took place in October 2018 and will be remembered by people for years to come. Even the elders would quote these to their children. The residence of Haryana Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu was set on fire during the Jat agitation about two and half years ago and it was completely destroyed. Now about Rs3 crore has been given to him and his family for this.
The family of Captain Abhimanyu has decided to spend this amount on the marriage of poor girls. It is believed that as many as 400 marriages could take place with the compensation amount of about Rs 3 crore. Major Satyapal Sindhu, younger brother of the minister, said that as a part of political conspiracy, his family was attacked and their house was set on fire. “The matter is in a CBI court and after this incident, the government has released compensation of about Rs 3 crore.”
Major Sindhu added: “It would be the biggest mass marriage function of poor girls which would be organized in Rohtak in December. The amount received as compensation would be spent on this function.”
The second instance is related to a newly-wed couple, Karan and Harleen, who donated Rs 5 lakh collected as ‘shagun’ to a Chandigarh-based NGO, Umeed, for the welfare of special children. It was a wedding reception at a resort on Chandigarh’s periphery on October 13, 2018, with Karan’s parents, Suresh Sharma and Samidha Sharma, politely guiding the guests eager to give ‘shagun’ to a counter set up by Umeed. A banner put up at the entrance read: “Whosoever wishes to give shagun may please hand it over at the Umeed counter. Thank you very much for your wishes and gracing the occasion.”
Suresh Sharma, the groom’s father, said: “It is our humble effort to sensitise society to do something for the underprivileged sections on auspicious occasions such as marriages.”
Umeed is a joint venture of the Government Institute of Mentally Retarded Children (GIMRC), Chandigarh, and parents of the special children. It runs a chain of food outlets across Chandigarh in which special children are employed after vocational training.