Dushyant Chautala‘s rise to kingmaker‘s role

Dushyant has now emerged as a leader of some reckoning in the Jat community, as well among Haryana‘s youth.

IMAGE: Jannayak Janata Party leader Dushyant Chautala rides a tractor with his mother and wife sitting on the side-seats in Sirsa. Photograph: PTI Photo

The results of the Haryana assembly elections may have settled the debate on the legacy of former deputy prime minister and Jat stalwart Devi Lal in the favour of his great grandson Dushyant Chautala.

Neither the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, nor the Congress got the numbers to form the government in the state and both sought support of Dushyant‘s months-old Jannayak Janta Dal that won 10 seats, pitching him into the kingmaker‘s role.

 

After day-long uncertainty over which side he will support, Dushyant finally announced support for the BJP and accepted the post of deputy chief minister for his party in a government headed by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

The BJP-JJP alliance is likely to meet the Governor on Saturday to stake the claim to form government.

Earlier in the day, Dushyant, 31, remained non-committal on which of the two main parties his JJP will support.

“No one is untouchable for us. We will support whichever party agrees to implement our agenda as part of a common minimum programme, ” he said after a meeting of the JJP legislative party of 10 MLAs, in which he was elected the leader.

The parent Indian National Lok Dal, headed by Dushyant Chautala‘s grandfather Om Prakash Chautala and uncle Abhay Chautala has been trumped by the breakaway party, managing to win only one seat. 

Dushyant has now emerged as a leader of some reckoning in the Jat community, as well among Haryana‘s youth.

Last year, the INLD split between Dushyant‘s father Ajay Chautala and uncle Abhay Chautala — the two sons of Om Prakash Chautala.

Ajay Chautala and his father are serving a jail term in connection with a teachers‘ recruitment scam during the INLD tenure.

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Dushyant Chautala is described as a risk-taker by some. He opted to form his own political outfit rather than get into in a legal battle with his uncle Abhay Chautala over holding the reins of the INLD.

Despite attempts made by some ‘khaps‘ and even former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, a family friend of the Chautalas, for a reconciliation, Dushyant remained firm.

Just a month after coming into being last December, the JJP faced its first electoral challenge in the Jind bypoll. Its candidate Digvijay Chautala lost to the BJP but managed to push Congress stalwart Randeep Singh Surjewala to the third position.

The JJP then fought on seven seats in the recent Lok Sabha polls, leaving three for the Aam Aadmi Party.

The BJP made a clean sweep over all the 10 parliamentary constituencies in the state and Dushyant Chautala lost his own Hisar seat.

But the defeat appeared to have not deterred him from going for the bigger goal to build the party and make it a fighting force ahead of assembly polls.

This time his party did not enter into any alliance, deciding to contest the assembly polls independently.

He opted for a tough seat himself, fighting from Uchana Kalan against senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Birender Singh‘s wife Prem Lata, who had defeated him the last time.

Recalling his journey over the last five years, Dushyant Chautala had earlier told PTI, “There has been a lot of change, I had to leave my education, get into politics and today I am leading a party. It requires drastic effort and big changes.”

As an MP, Dushyant Chautala was active in Parliament.

He asked 677 questions on issues including railway and highway projects, crime against women, child labour and drug trafficking.

To highlight farmers‘ concerns, he drove a tractor to Parliament two years.

The tractor featured prominently this polling day as well. Along with wife Meghna and MLA-mother Naina Chautala, he rode one on October 21 to cast his vote in Jind.

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