What happened at Jind rally?
Addressing a massive rally, on the ocassion of 100th birth anniversary of his father and former deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, OP Chautala claimed that his party will bag more than 60 seats in the October 15 polls and he will once again take oath as Haryana Chief Minister.
Several political bigwigs such as JD(S) chief and former PM HD Deve Gowda, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, former Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal were also present in the rally called by INLD.
'Disqualified' Chautala claims to become CM
Speculations were rife that OP Chautala would announce the name of his grandson Dushyant Chautala as party's chief ministerial candidate. But it seems that the desire for sitting on CM's chair has not yet left the Chautala senior's mind who claimed that he will take oath as Haryana's CM from Tihar Jail.
"We will win over 60 seats and form the next government on our own. There is no question of hung assembly after polls. Everybody in the state is supporting INLD," Chautala claimed.
"In these elections, Congress and BJP will fight for number 2 and 3 slots," he said.
Enthused with the massive public support a confident Chautala went on saying,"It doesn't matter whether I contest elections or not, but one thing is for sure, I will take oath as Haryana CM even from Tihar Jail."
However, it is highly unlikely that OP Chautala will be able to swear in as CM, since it is not constitutionally possible. The constitutional now abides convicted persons from contesting polls and become an MP or MLA.
Chautala senior, who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in the teachers recruitment scam case last year, is out on interim bail. He took a special permission from the administration to be a part of the massive rally.
INLD getting powerful in Haryana?
But, a pertinent question arises whether his words hold any grounds? Whether INLD really enjoys the support that is forcing the old man aspire becoming Chief Minister again?
Well, if one goes with the groundswell in the poll rallies held by INLD, then the party, in the past one year, has definitely seen a sharp rise in its supporters. After BJP, INLD was the second successful party from Haryana in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The party had bagged two parliamentary seats in the general elections and recorded a total vote share of 24 per cent. While the BJP had secured 7 seats from the state with a vote share of nearly 35 per cent.
BJP's support base has dipped
But, political dynamics have changed drastically in the state polls. The BJP, riding on the Modi wave, may have decimated every party in the Lok Sabha polls but when it comes to assembly polls INLD enjoys an upper hand especially after the former severed its two-year-old alliance with Kuldeep Bishnoi's Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC).
Experts feel that splitting of the alliance has depleted the BJP's chances of emerging as the single largest party in Haryana assembly polls and this has eventually helped the INLD in becoming stronger.
INLD faced with leadership crisis
Given the political scenario in Haryana, it will be interesting to see if INLD will really be able to come to power in the state. INLD's vote base may have scaled up but the party still faces a leadership crisis. There is still confusion amongst voters over who will become party's chief ministerial candidate. Since, party's all three big names OP Chautala, son Ajay Chautala and senior leader Sher Singh Badhshami, are in jail at present in connection with the infamous Junior Basic Training teachers recruitment case.
Abhay Chautala too is facing credibility crisis for he to faces graft case. He was removed from the post president of Indian Olympic body for charges of corruption. Hence, it will be interesting to see if people will show their faith in a young man like Dushyant Chautala to become state's CM.
Haryana being a very crucial state in terms of revenue BJP, Congress and other parties, during the electioneering opposition, will definitely raise the issue of all popular faces in the INLD facing jail term under graft cases. This will hit the INLD's performance as the election fever picks up. Hence, it will be interesting to see whom the voters in Haryana will pick on the D Day.