Chandigarh: It is a battle of survival for the INLD in Haryana. And the party has taken it up, with the leadership supposed to be absent very much on the field.
The INLD, known for its dynastic rule, has seen its two top leaders, party chief Om Prakash Chautala and his elder son Ajay, convicted in a teachers’ recruitment case last year. But with O P Chautala out on bail for over four months now citing ill health, the INLD’s campaign has got a lift. Chautala has been addressing nine or 10 political rallies a day, with huge crowds.
While the Congress and BJP are targeting the conviction in their campaigns, the INLD is not running away from it either. INLD leaders too talk of the conviction, telling people it was a “conspiracy hatched by Congress in connivance with the CBI”. The biased selections of JBT teachers for which the Chautalas has been convicted have also been projected as a “service” to the poor people of Haryana. The INLD’s staunch supporters are “convinced” that Chautala had merely “helped” poor people whose children were given jobs.
INLD’s ally the Shiromani Akali Dal, too, has launched an intensive campaign seeking votes in Devi Lal and Om Prakash Chautala’s names. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, his son Sukhbir Badal and over 100 SAD leaders are campaigning across Haryana.
The INLD has said that if voted to power, Chautala, who has declared in court he will surrender on October 17, will take oath as CM from inside Tihar jail, a possibility trashed by legal experts. He has now been asked by the Delhi High Court to appear on October 10, following two petitions (one by the CBI) that he has been violating his bail terms by addressing rallies.
Confident of a full majority, the INLD has trashed the possibility of a post-poll alliance with any party. The BJP’s Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, for their part, too have ruled out such a possibility.
If hypothetically the BJP is taken out of the scene, the INLD is considered the biggest challenger to the ruling Congress in the polls. The INLD had got 31 seats in 2009 and is quite confident of bettering that this time. However, the BJP with Modi as its face is expected to present tough competition.