Om Prakash Chautala: Rise, fall, rise and downfall


Charges petty and serious, terms short and full

His crime record shows him as having allegedly smuggled watches as a young man, having been indicted as an accessory to murder, and now as being convicted for corruption. His political career has seen him as Haryana chief minister for varying periods, ranging from a low of five days to a full term of five years, with a five-month debut between the extremes.

Om Prakash Chautala, Indian National Lok Dal chief and once Haryana strongman, has been convicted along with his elder son Ajay for the manner his government had appointed 3,206 teachers. The sentences are likely to be pronounced on Tuesday.

When he was allegedly caught smuggling watches at Delhi airport, he was disowned by his father Devi Lal. But when Devi Lal went to Delhi as deputy prime minister in the Janata Dal government, it was his son who inherited the chief minister's chair on December 2, 1989. Needing to win an election, he ended up contesting three. Two of these were in Meham, dominated by his community of Jats. The first byelection there was countermanded following allegations of booth capturing by the Chautalas. The second one was again countermanded, now because of the death of Independent candidate Amir Singh. Chautala was simultaneously contesting Darba Kalan in his home district, which did elect him.

In 1996, the Justice K N Saikia Commission indicted Chautala as an accessory to the killing of Amir Singh. Because of the shadow cast by the killing, his party was forced to bring in another chief minister, Banarsi Das Gupta, ending Chautala's five-month term. Gupta himself survived only two-and-a-half months, with Chautala snatching back the crown on July 2, 1990. But pressure from the party forced Chautala to quit again five days later.

Eight months later, new chief minister Hukum Singh had to make way for Chautala again. This time, Chautala lasted from March 2 to April 6, 1991, before rebellion toppled him and sent the state under President's rule.

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