Congress balks as Nitish rallies for INLD’s inclusion in INDIA bloc

Some 35 years ago, Devi Lal, the then Haryana CM had brought all left and right wing parties together to form a grand alliance against Congress. Now his son, former CM O.P. Chautala is struggling for a spot in I.N.D.I.A, an alliance of anti-BJP parties. A report by Pawan Kumar Bansal

Om Parkash Chautala’s efforts to woo Congress and  Aam Aadmi Party came a cropper as both the parties did not send even their representatives to the rally organized by Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) to celebrate the birthday of the former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal at Kaithal in Haryana.

The alliance formed by Devi Lal had succeeded in ousting Congress from power paving the way for V.P. Singh to become the Prime Minister of the country.

Interestingly, the alliance was against Congress and BJP was part of it, but the present alliance is against BJP with Congress as its partner.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, a confidante of Devi Lal, is trying his best to have Indian National Lok Dal headed by Om Parkash Chautala included in the alliance.

Although INLD claims to be a national party, its influence is confined only to Haryana. There too, the party has only one MLA, Abhay Chautala in the 90-member state assembly.

It is learnt that strong opposition by former Haryana Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda  to INLD  joining as partner of the grand anti-BJP alliance has virtually sabotaged the efforts of Nitish Kumar. Hooda is stated to be of the view that there is no need of any alliance in Haryana as Congress is capable of contesting and winning all the 10 seats of  Lok Sabha.

Abhay Chautala had personally invited Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge to attend the rally organized to celebrate the birthday of Devi Lal at Kaithal in Haryana but considering the opposition raised by Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Kharge did not give his consent for attending the rally. He cryptically said that as Devi Lal was also pro-poor and worked for down-trodden, Congress and he were on the same wave-length.

But none of the representatives of Congress and AAP attended the Kaithal rally.

Nitish Kumar is working on a formula in which the INLD and Aam Aadmi Party could be given two or three Lok Sabha seats, thus uniting all anti-BJP parties on one platform.

Another opposition party, JJP of Dushyant Chautla is part of Haryana Government. But, it is not sure whether JJP will contest Lok Sabha polls in alliance with BJP or not. Both BJP and JJP had contested last assembly polls separately but later came together and formed a government as the BJP fell short of majority for forming the Government.

Interestingly, both Om Prakash Chautala and Dushyant Chautala are trying to encash the legacy of Devi Lal.While Om Prakash Chautala organised rally to celebrate birthday of Devi Lal at Kaithal in Haryana, Dushyant Chautala  held rally at Sikar in Rajasthan.

It is interesting to mention here that Devi Lal had won the Lok Sabha poll from Sikar in 1989 defeating Balram Jakhar of Congress.

According to political commentators, it is impossible for Congress high command to ignore the plea of Bhupinder Singh Hooda who enjoys considerable influence among Jats, who matter in at least three Lok Sabha seats, namely Hisar, Sonipat and Rohtak.

Besides Bhupinder Singh Hooda other Congress stalwarts, Randeep Surjewala, Kumari Selja and former Minister Kiran Chaudhary are also reportedly not happy with the prospects of INDIA allying with Om Parkash Chautala’s INLD  although Kumari Selja has stated that the party will obey the decision of high command.

Bhupinder Hooda and Randeep Surjewala had personal-political differences with Om Prakash Chautala. While Bhupinder Singh Hooda had thrice defeated Devi Lal from Rohtak Lok Sabha seat, Randeep Surjewala and Chautala had  locked horns at Narwana assembly constituency in the past.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, NCP leader Sharad Pawar and Akhilesh Yadav were expected to attend  Kaithal rally but could not come and instead sent their representatives.

SAD leader Sukhbir Badal, former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and K.C. Tayagi has advocated that for defeating BJP, all opposition parties must unite under one banner.