Steady decline in dominance of Lals in Haryana politics

With Cong’s Kiran Chaudhary, daughter of former Haryana CM Bansi Lal, along with her daughter and former MP Shruti Chaudhary deciding to cross over to the BJP, the saffron party continues to be the favorite destination for clans of Haryana’s famous Lals.  A report by Pawan Kumar Bansal

The three Lals of Haryana—Bansi Lal, Devi Lal, and Bhajan Lal—dominated the state’s politics for several decades. Bansi Lal was a prominent member of the caucus that ruled the country during the Emergency period. Bhajan Lal famously defected along with the entire cabinet of his Janata Party government in Haryana to the Congress in the eighties, while Devi Lal ousted the then PM Rajiv Gandhi from power by uniting all opposition parties. However, in a quirk of fate, their clans, with a few exceptions, have largely surrendered to the leadership of the BJP; more specifically, ironically, to yet another Lal: Manohar Lal, former Haryana CM and now Union Cabinet Minister.

Kuldeep Bishnoi, former MP and son of former CM Bhajan Lal and his wife, Renuka Bishnoi, and son, Bhavya Bishnoi, and Ranjit Chautala, son of Devi Lal, are already in the BJP fold. Aditya Devi Lal, son of Jagdish, youngest son of Devi Lal, has been with the BJP for quite some time and is now Chairman of the Haryana State Agricultural Marketing Board.

The latest to join BJP under the leadership of Union Minister Manohar Lal is former Haryana Congress Minister Kiran Chaudhry and her daughter, Shruti Chaudhry who is also a former MP. Kiran Chaudhry is the daughter of late Bansi Lal, former Haryana CM.

Now siblings of all the three famous “Lals” of Haryana, Bansi Lal, Devi Lal and Bhajan Lal are in the BJP. However, not all the siblings of these three Lals have joined the BJP. Former Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan, son of Bhajan Lal, and Ranbir Mahindra, son of Bansi Lal are still in the Congress. In fact, the family members of Devi Lal are in three different political outfits. Ranjit Singh Chautala, son of Devi Lal, who had won the last assembly elections as an independent candidate from Rania Assembly constituency of Sirsa district, supported BJP when it fell short of a majority and thus helped in formation of the BJP-JJP  government in Haryana and was, therefore, rewarded with a ministerial berth in Haryana government headed by Manohar Lal.

During the just-concluded Lok Sabha, election, he had joined BJP, and within hours of his joining, the saffron party, he was given a party ticket from the Hisar Lok Sabha constituency which he lost to Jai Prakash, a one-time protege of Devi Lal and now a Congress candidate. Dushyant Chautala, great grandson of Devi Lal, is running his own party called Jannayak Janata Party.

In the last assembly elections, his party won ten seats, with himself and his mother, Naina Chautala being among the winners. Since the BJP had not got the required majority for forming the government, Dushyant Chautala extended support of his party resulting in formation of the BJP-JJP alliance government which continued till the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls. Dushyant Chautala was inducted as a Deputy CM and was given important portfolios.

In the 2024 Election, Naina Chautala, contesting from Hisar Lok Sabha constituency, lost and forfeited her security deposit. Sunaina Chautala of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), headed by Om Parkash Chautala, also had her security deposit forfeited. Abhay Chautala, son of Om Parkash Chautala, lost the election from the Kurukshetra Lok Sabha constituency, receiving less than one lakh votes. The BJP is jubilant as almost all prominent members of the Devi Lal, Bansi Lal, and Bhajan Lal families have joined their ranks. Arvind Yadav, former Chairman of Haryana Tourism and close confidant of Manohar Lal, told Tehelka, ‘The induction of prominent members from the families of these three famous Lals of Haryana will benefit the party in the upcoming assembly elections.”

Kiran Chaudhry has showered praise on Manohar Lal and PM Narendra Modi. She has resigned from the Congress party, with which she had a nearly four-decade-long association. Speculation had been circulating for a while that she would quit the Congress and join the BJP, ever since her daughter, Shruti Chaudhry, former MP from the Bhiwani-Mahendragarh Lok Sabha constituency, was denied the party ticket, which was given to Rao Dan Singh, a protégé of former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Hitting out at Hooda, Kiran Chaudhry alleged that he was hatching a conspiracy to finish her “politically.”

Kiran Chaudhry’s entry into Haryana politics about two decades ago was an unforeseen turn of events. She was active in Delhi politics, but after the unfortunate demise of her husband, Bansi Lal’s son Surinder Singh, she was given an assembly ticket from Tosham, which was earlier represented by Surinder Singh.

Rest, as they say, is history as she became MLA and later Minister carrying on the legacy of Bansi Lal. Her daughter Shruti Chaudhry also became MP from Bhiwani-Mahendragarh constituency twice.