Rift over Uchana seat further strains wobbly BJP-JJP alliance

All is not well with the over 3-year old alliance of the ruling BJP and its junior partner JJP in Haryana; the latest being their stance on JJP’s top leader Dushyant Chautala’s Uchana Kalan seat which he had won after trouncing BJP’s nominee in 2019 polls. A report by Rajesh Moudgil

A fresh tussle seems to be brewing between Haryana’s BJP-JJP coalition government. This time, it is over the issue of Jind’s Uchana Kalan assembly seat, which the JJP’s top leader Dushyant Chautala wrested from Prem Lata, the wife of BJP’s top leader Birender Singh in 2019. The BJP leadership has indicated fielding its own candidate from here in 2024 state polls.

For the record, the two parties had fought polls against each other in 2019. While BJP bagged 40 (the number rose to 41 later after Bhavya Bishnoi won in Adampur bypoll in 2022) of the total 90 seats in the state, the Congress won 31 (which fell to 30 after Congress’ Kuldeep Bishnoi quit and shifted to BJP). The JJP had won 10 seats, while independent candidates won from seven seats and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) won a single seat each.

The BJP and JJP joined hands after elections and also got backing of the independents. However, the two allies have spoken different languages on several occasions.

Sample this: The differences between the alliance had first surfaced about three years ago over the now-repealed farm laws when Dushyant said since his JJP had full support of farmers and he would be in a better position while being a partner with the government to raise farmers’ concerns.
More recently, on the issue of the wrestlers’ stir against WFI chief, Dushyant was quick to demand strictest action against whosoever was found guilty and even urged Delhi police to expedite the probe into the matter.

Now only a few days ago, JJP MLA Ram Karan Kala had resigned as the chairman of Haryana Sugarfed in protest against the police lathicharge on the agitating farmers and their leaders’ detention demanding MSP on sunflower seeds. Kala is MLA from Shahbad segment in Kurukshetra district where the farmers were currently holding a protest.

The Fresh Spat

Back home, the latest dispute between the BJP and JJP was whipped up after the BJP state incharge Biplab Deb exhorted the party workers while holding a workers’ meeting in Uchana Kalan assembly constituency recently to prepare to take a revenge for the defeat of the party’s former BJP legislator Prem Lata in the 2024 assembly polls.

Dushyant was first to strongly react to it stating that he would fight from his seat and only about three people seemed to have some problems with it.

The JJP state chief Nishan Singh also chipped in and remarked that, alliance or no alliance, Dushyant would contest from Uchana Kalan only.

Deb did not stop there as, according to reports, a few days later he went on to say that the JJP had not done any favour to BJP by having truck after 2019 polls as several of its leaders were given ministerial berths.

However, the JJP spokesperson Deepkamal Saharan tried to clear the air by saying that while Dushyant would obviously contest from Uchana Kalan, the JJP leader did not mean BJP but three persons – Birender Singh, his wife Prem Lata and their son Brijendra Singh – who seemed to have problem with his contesting from Uchana Kalan.

It was not the first time that such an indication had been given. In the past too, the BJP state chief Om Prakash Dhankar had said that the party would go it alone in the 2024 elections.

Stakes On The Seat

Uchana Kalan, an assembly seat in Jind district, had been the home turf of the former senior Congress leader and Union minister Birender Singh who won the seat five times before joining BJP while his wife Prem Lata won it as BJP candidate in 2014. However, the situation changed when the JJP leader Dushyant snatched it from her in 2019 when the JJP fought the polls against BJP.

Interestingly, the 2019 elections were held in October 2019, five months after the Lok Sabha polls in which Dushyant had lost to Birender Singh’s son,  Brijendra Singh – formerly an IAS officer – from Hisar parliamentary seat.

Pertinently, Dushyant is grandson of former Haryana chief minister Om Parkash Chautala, the founder of INLD. While Om Parkash Chautala along with his younger son Abhay heads the INLD, his elder son Ajay along with Dushyant had parted ways from INLD and floated JJP in 2018 ahead of 2019 polls.

The Disagreement Continues

Meanwhile, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has taken a dig at the reports regarding the resignation of JJP MLA Ram Karan Kala, stating that no such resignation had reached the government yet. “We are still finding the resignation. We have not received any resignation from him. Sometimes, such statements are made because of some pressure’’, he quipped.

On the question regarding the rift between BJP-JJP alliance, the chief minister said the alliance was done for public welfare and it would continue.

However, Khattar’s statements notwithstanding, it was a few days ago that four independent MLAs had called on BJP state incharge Deb after the recent squabbling over the Uchana Kalan seat. Deb subsequently said that independent MLAs Dharam Pal Gonder, Rakesh Daultabad, Randhir Singh and Somveer Sangwan had expressed their confidence in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership in the meeting. He went on to say that the BJP was leaving no stone unturned for state’s progress under the “double engine’’ government.

A day later, the HLP legislator Gopal Kanda also met Deb in Delhi and expressed his faith in Modi’s leadership. Deb also tweeted to say that Kanda wanted to make Haryana strong and prosperous through the BJP’s double-engine government.

Notably, these meetings are being seen as significant as the BJP has of late been indicating that it would contest all the 10 Lok Sabha seats in the upcoming 2024 parliamentary polls on its own.