Abhay in charge, but lacks appeal enjoyed by father & brother

It has never been easy for a leader from outside the Devi Lal clan to emerge stronger in the party hierarchy of the Om Prakash Chautala-led INLD. The party leadership is known to have clipped the wings of anybody who was found to even have a slight chance of climbing up the party hierarchy. Hence, the INLD had always remained a family-dominated party.

This is precisely why after Chautala and his elder son Ajay have been jailed in the JBT scam, the command is in the hands of the younger son, Abhay Singh Chautala.

State INLD chief Ashok Arora, whom is currently in command of the party, admitted on Tuesday that Abhay was taking care of the immediate concerns of the party. "We are seeking legal advise to challenge the decision, but I am not aware what is happening on that front. It is being looked after by Abhay Singh," he said.

With no second line of leaders, Abhay is the compulsion of the party. No other leader has the state-level appeal and senior leaders have opined that only Abhay can garner some sympathy for the party by terming it a "Congress conspiracy". And with the party's middle and grassroots level worker demoralised with the court judgment, Abhay has to keep his flock together.

But Abhay misses the state-level aura that his father and brother enjoyed. He had once ventured out of his home district of Sirsa to contest the Lok Sabha election from Kurukshetra but faced defeat.

Both Chautala and Ajay had appeal beyond their district. Even now, Chautala is the MLA from Uchana Kalan — he had defeated the powerful Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Birender Singh. While he had won from Narwana in Jind, Sirsa had also given him hands down victory.

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