Days before Indian National Lok Dal secretary general Ajay Chautala was to address a meeting of all party leaders on 17 November, father and party supremo Om Prakash Chautala expelled him from the primary membership of INLD for “anti-party activities”.
Amid the growing family feud within the INLD, a split in the party looks more imminent now.
Haryana INLD chief Ashok Arora announced the decision of expulsion on Wednesday, reading out a letter from Om Prakash Chautala, who is in Tihar Jail in connection with a recruitment scam. Ajay Singh Chautala’s younger brother Abhay Singh Chautala and other senior party leaders were present when Arora communicated senior Chautala’s decision to all.
Ajay Chautala’s sons Dushyant Chautala, the Hisar MP, and Digvijay Chautala were earlier expelled from the primary membership of the party on November 2, bringing the family feud out in the open. Dushyant had been removed from the post of INLD Parliamentary Board leader too.
The action was taken against the great-grandsons of former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal after the two youth leaders and their supporters tried to project Dushyant as the chief ministerial face of Haryana that goes to polls next year.
Reacting to his expulsion, Digvijay Chautala claimed the letter read out by Arora was “forged”, and that the whole exercise was a “conspiracy”.
Dushyant had refused to accept his expulsion, claiming to have learnt about it only through the media. He had said his expulsion order not been issued officially by the INLD and that the party’s national executive never met to decide the issue.
Meanwhile, Ajay Chautala, who is also undergoing a sentence is Tihar Jail and is currently out on parole, has been touring the state to mobilise support for the meeting called by him in Jind on November 17.
The senior Chautala and his elder son Ajay were convicted in the junior basic teacher (JBT) recruitment scam in January 2013 and a Central Bureau of Investigation court in Delhi had sentenced them to 10 years’ imprisonment. Both cannot contest elections due to the conviction.
The INLD is currently managed by Chautala’s younger son Abhay Singh Chautala, who is also the Leader of Opposition in the Haryana Assembly.
Earlier, in an attempt to keep his flock together, Abhay had summoned an “emergency meeting” of the party at Sirsa to discuss the INLD’s agitation from 1 December seeking the completion of the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.
Ajay Chautala and his immediate family — his wife and legislator Naina Chautala, Dushyant and Digvijay — were among those who kept away from the meeting, though Abhay had claimed “ninety per cent of INLD MLAs and MPs” attended this meeting.
Asked about the Sirsa meeting, the elder brother had said, “The INLD belongs to the workers and not to the individuals.”
He had also 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.