Will Dushyant Chautala emerge as a big player in Haryana politics
Chandigarh, Apr 24: Five years after he became the youngest MP at the age of 26, Dushyant Chautala finds himself leading a fledgling party which will lock horns with the BJP and the Congress -- two of India's oldest political parties, in the Lok Sabha polls in Haryana.
For the great-grandson of former deputy prime minister Devi Lal, politics may be in his blood, but taking a plunge into active politics was not a priority until he fell out with his uncle and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) secretary general Abhay Chautala last year. The feud, which became Haryana's biggest political spectacle of 2018, saw Dushyant Chautala, his father Ajay Chautala and brother Digvijay Chautala being expelled from the party by his grandfather and INLD president Om Prakash Chautala.
With his father serving a 10-year prison term in 2013 teachers' recruitment scam, Dushyant Chautala launched a new party, Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), in December 2018. Recalling his journey over the last five years, Dushyant Chautala 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."
"Every step is a lesson. The first time I sat in a press conference, it was very hard because I didn't know what questions will be thrown at me. Today, you can say it is a friendly meeting," he said.
The JJP finished second in the Jind bypolls held in January this year. It scored convincingly higher than its parent party INLD, which was pushed to the fifth spot.
"We started from scratch, from zero, and in our first contest in the Jind bypolls, we finished as first runners up, even ahead of the Congress candidate. Now, our performance graph will only go up in the Lok Sabha and the upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections," the JJP leader said.
Dushyant Chautala, the sitting MP from Hisar, is seeking re-election from the seat as JJP candidate. His party forged an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in April to jointly contest all the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana. Dushyant Chautala dubbed the alliance the only alternative to the BJP and the Congress in the state.
"People want to get rid of the BJP and they don't want the Congress to come to power again. The only viable option they find is the JJP-AAP combine," he said.
As a lawmaker, Dushyant Chautala has been very active in Parliament. He asked 677 questions on issues ranging from railway projects and national highway projects, crimes against women, child labour and drug trafficking, according to PRS Legislative Research.
Two years ago, Dushyant Chautala drove a tractor to Parliament to highlight the concerns of farmers following an amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act that affected the existing status of tractor as an agricultural vehicle. The JJP leader questioned the work done by the ruling BJP in Haryana, where polling will be held in the sixth phase on May 12.
The saffron party holds seven seats in the state. Speaking about his work, Dushyant Chautala said, "First passport Seva Kendra was opened in Hisar in February 2017. We built washing yard lines, now we have direct connectivity to Coimbatore, Secunderabad, Kolkata, Haridwar from Hisar. We have the first WiFi village."
"If I talk of Hisar, we have achieved a lot and still a lot has to be achieved. Life cannot be a circle, you have to keep running," he said.