With Indian National Lok Dal’s (INLD) secretary-general Ajay Singh Chautala calling a meeting of all party leaders on 17 November, the stage appears to be set for a split in the party between two factions of the Chautala clan.
In a letter to all former and current MLAs and MPs of the party, state executive members and special invitees, Ajay has invited them for a meeting at Jind on November 17. The letter said certain important decisions were to be taken at the meeting.
Ajay is the elder son of INLD president and former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala. Both his (Ajay’s) sons Dushyant Chautala and Digvijay Chautala were recently expelled from the INLD for anti-party activities after their supporters shouted slogans at a rally seeking to declare Hisar MP Dushyant as the party’s CM candidate in the 2019 Assembly polls.
INLD president Om Prakash Chautala and Ajay (who is on a two-week parole) are serving jail sentence in a recruitment scam case. This demand to declare Dushyant the party’s CM candidate didn’t go down well with the senior Chautala and his younger son Abhay Chautala. OP Chautala otherwise remains the party’s sole choice for the CM’s post.
Sources said by summoning the INLD meeting in Jind, Ajay could initiate action against the party leaders, specially belonging to the Abhay faction. A decision could also be taken to revoke the decision expelling his sons from the party.
Unless efforts for a patch-up in the Chautala clan succeed, the INLD is likely to face a clear divide between the two factions led by Ajay and Abhay. The latter has the backing of his father.
Earlier, in an attempt to keep his flock together, Abhay had summoned an “emergency meeting” of the party at Sirsa on Friday to discuss the INLD’s agitation from 1 December seeking completion of the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.
Ajay, his wife and legislator Naina Chautala, Dushyant and Digvijay were among those who kept away. Abhay however claimed “ninety per cent of INLD MLAs and MPs” attended this meeting.
Ajay, meanwhile, said the INLD working committee meeting in Jind on November 17 would decide to whom the party belonged. The INLD has 18 MLAs in the 90-member Haryana Assembly.
Asked about Abhay’s meeting in Sirsa, the elder brother said, “The INLD belongs to the workers and not to the individuals.”