New Delhi: In a call for direct action against the leaders of Jannayak Janata Party – which is led by his brother Ajay and nephew and Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala – Indian National Lok Dal general secretary Abhay Singh Chautala on Monday urged farmers in Haryana to tear off the clothes of JJP and BJP leaders if they visit villages in the state.
Abhay, who had resigned from his Ellenabad assembly seat in Sirsa district in January this year to express solidarity with the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the Centre’s three controversial agricultural laws, had earlier in March also appealed to farmers to ban the entry of BJP-JJP leaders into villages.
However, Abhay’s latest call for a direct attack on the Ajay Chautala’s group is indicative of a further strain in ties among members of the Chautala clan.
A day after a BJP legislator from Punjab was allegedly beaten up by a group of protesting farmers in the Malout area of Muktsar, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) general secretary Abhay Singh Chautala on Sunday alleged that the incident had taken place to defame farmers who have been protesting against the Centre’s three farm laws.
Though farmers have been protesting near Abhay and Dushyant Chautala’s Sirsa residence since late September, when the three bills were passed in parliament, they have never physically attacked members of the family. Unlike chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, whose visit to Karnal was disrupted by angry farmers in January this year, Dushyant, and his younger brother Digvijay, have been visiting their Sirsa residence regularly.
INLD suffered as Ajay, Dushyant broke away to form JJP
Though Dushyant had won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as an INLD candidate, backed then by both his grandfather and former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and his uncle Abhay, he and his father Ajay had subsequently fallen out with Abhay, who had the backing of OP Chautala. The Ajay Chautala family then floated the Jannayak Janata Party which went on to win 10 seats in the 2019 assembly elections. It then decided to support the Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP in the state to form a government for the second time. In return, Dushyant was made a deputy chief minister.
Abhay Chautala, whose INLD managed to win just one seat in the polls – that too his seat of Ellanabad – had since been looking for an opportunity to get back at his brother and nephew, whom he accuses of using the name of patriarch and former PM Chaudhary Devi Lal but joining hands with BJP, which the famous ‘Tau’ always despised.
After resigning his Ellanabad seat in January, Abhay sharpened his attacks on JJP and, in early March, he urged farmers in the state to stop the entry of JJP and BJP leaders into the villages. This came against the backdrop of farmers groups holding protests near the residences of several leaders of these two parties.
Abhay queers the pitch by advocating physical action
Now, to further pin the father-son duo and to put pressure on JJP’s alliance with BJP in the state, Abhay had gone ahead and urged farmers to not only tear the clothes of the leaders of the two parties but also to tie them to the poles if they come visiting.
During a public meeting at Makrauli Kalan in Rohtak on Monday, he urged people in the state to treat “BJP-JJP leaders in the same way Punjab legislator Arun Narang had been treated”.
Referring to the attack on Narang in Malout in Punjab on Saturday, whose clothes were torn off when he went to address a press conference, Abhay said, “the angry farmers tore his clothes amid high police security, you should also do the same”.
Cautioning Khattar and BJP-JJP MLAs that their clothes would also be torn off if they would not get the three laws repealed, Abhay told the farmers that they should not let the leaders of the two parties visit their villages and should keep pressuring them.
JJP has stopped political events, confined itself to social gatherings
In the meantime, protests by farmers against the JJP have already forced its leaders to not hold any political events in the state. Dushyant was earlier quoted as saying that he now only attends weddings and funerals to show that he was “still among the people”.
In order to assuage the hurt feelings of the farmers, the BJP-JJP alliance government have recently also passed several controversial legislations including one that provides for 75% reservation to state’s domicile holders in private sector jobs and another that empowers the state government to recover compensation from protesting farmers for causing damage to property.
While Abhay believes that the by-election to Ellanabad will show how unpopular the BJP-JJP alliance has become in the state, Dushyant, who moved away from his uncle – accusing him of disrespecting his father – remains nonchalant. He believes with the passage of time, this crisis for his party shall pass as well.