Indian National Lok Dal
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In 1989, when Devi Lal was the Haryana CM, his younger son Ranjit Singh was agriculture minister in his cabinet and enjoyed the support of several senior party leaders.
Ranjit was seen as the successor of Devi Lal, who would later go on to become the deputy PM of India. Senior party leaders like Raghubir Kadian, Anand Dangi, Ran Singh Mann, Banarsi Dass Gupta and Virender Singh Narnaund supported Ranjit.
Devi Lal’s elder son Om Prakash Chautala was then president of INLD. Sandwiched between the two, Devi Lal chose Om Prakash as his successor.
Om Prakash would later replace Devi Lal as CM and appropriate the patriarch’s political legacy. He remained CM for several terms and still heads the party from jail.
Ranjit resigned as minister and was sent to Rajya Sabha by Devi Lal. But he couldn’t rise in politics after that. He left the party and joined the Congress, becoming a close aide of former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Abhay, INLD power centre
Chautala’s younger son Abhay has now emerged as the undisputed leader of the party. There has been no formal announcement that he would be the party’s face in elections due in 2019, but with most MLAs on his side, it is certain he would. Abhay has in any case handled important things for the party since January 2013 when Chautala and Ajay were jailed. He not only fought legal battles for them but also managed the INLD’s state unit. Being leader of opposition in the assembly, he fought the BJP hard. Outside, he played a crucial role in forming an alliance with BSP.
Following the conviction of his father and brother — he, too, has a disproportionate assets (DA) case before the CBI court in Delhi to deal with — Abhay appeared mature and gave the impression that he was ready to fill the vacuum. It seemed to work. These days he has complete control over the cadre and is known for quick decisions and organisational skills.
What went wrong
There were reports of a rift between Abhay and the family of elder brother Ajay for long. But both denied it in public. On October 3 at a meeting in Gurgaon, the first signs of a spat emerged. Chautala openly snubbed Dushyant’s followers for demanding that a “younger person” should lead INLD. Thereafter, during the party’s October 7 rally at Gohana, the tension escalated when Dushyant’s supporters started hooting the moment Abhay started his speech. Upset, Om Prakash disbanded the party’s youth as well as student wings, backed by Dushyant and his brother Digvijay. He later expelled both from INLD. Ajay, who was out on parole, was expelled just three days ago. That more or less ended everything.