Om Prakash Chautala: Rise, fall, rise and downfall


Chauatala wouldn't come back to power for the next eight years. He did so in 1999 by toppling the Bansi Lal government, having got the BJP behind him. It began the first time he would complete a term. He took his party to elections in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chandigarh and Delhi, only to get a drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections. In fact, the party hasn't won a Lok Sabha seat even in Haryana for the last two elections.

The year that term began was also the year of the teachers' recruitment scam, Chautala's eventual undoing.

With Chautala and his sons Ajay and Abhay acquiring an image of being arrogant and losing connect with supporters, the party lost heavily to the Congress in the assembly polls. It re-emerged stronger in 2009, restricting the Congress tally and forcing Bhupinder Singh Hooda to take the support of Independents before he could form a government. But the foundation for Chautala's downfall had been laid during Hooda's first term.

A chargesheet prepared by a group of Congress leaders had listed assets disproportionate to Chautala's known sources of income, backing these with pictures of his bungalows and farmhouses. It was given to the CBI that is currently probing a case of disproportionate wealth. It pegs the family's combined income at Rs 1,467 crore. The CBI's own chargesheet lists 80 properties owned by the Chautalas across the country, and the Congress alleges these were procured in the period 1993-2006.

Other than the JBT scam, Chautala has been named in a case of dubious selections in the Haryana Civil Services too. The CBI has recommended registration of cases against Chautala and several former officers for recommending ineligible officials. The matter is pending in the Supreme Court.

The JBT scam has come at a time when the Chautalas were eyeing a return to power in the 2014 elections. Their party, which won 31 seats in 2009, has been holding hugely attended rallies and the conviction comes amid hopes of consolidation. If Chautala and Ajay are sentenced for more than two years, they cannot even contest.

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