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Om Prakash Chautala addresses 24 meetings in two months

On Tuesday, in his last public meetings in Bahadurgarh and Badli before he heads back to the Tihar Jail , an ailing Chautala chose to sit and address the sparse crowd.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Oct 09, 2019, 09.06 AM IST
Former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala
NEW DELHI: Out on parole for almost last two months which ended Tuesday, former Haryana Chief Minister and 84-year-old Om Prakash Chautala did two dozen public meetings across the state this month in a quintessential fight for the political survival of his party in Haryana, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).

On Tuesday, in his last public meetings in Bahadurgarh and Badli before he headed back to the Tihar Jail, Chautala could walk only with support and chose to sit and address the sparse crowd. "I am 84...prisioners are generally released at 65 years of age but this government does not have the right intentions. I have made an appeal...I have a strong case, they will have to release me soon," Chautala, in his trademark green turban, said in Asaudha village in Bahadurgarh trying to appeal to the people to trust in the political future of his party.

He claimed his party was sweeping districts like Rewari, Bhiwani, Sirsa, Mahendargarh and Dadri and how he was able to stitch an alliance with his old friend Prakash Singh Badal last month. For the record, the Supreme Court has dimissed appeals against his conviction in 2013 for ten years in a recruitment scam.

The going for INLD is tough on the ground with 14 of its MLAs jumping ship to BJP over the last few years and the party splitting with Chautala's grandson Dushyant Chautala floating the JJP.

In Sirsa district, the party's backyard from where Chautala's son and INLD senior leader Abhay Chautala is contesting from Elanabad constituency, one of the oldest confidants of the party Charanjit Singh Rodi joined the Congress on Tuesday in the presence of Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja.

The INLD also lost its deposit in the recent Jind by-poll and the party is facing a strong campaign from the BJP on grounds of anti-corruption. BJP advertisements in the campaign attack Chautala for speaking on anti-corruption while out on parole from jail in a corruption case.

"I gave jobs to people for which I was punished. I will do it again if the need be for the benefit of people," Chautala tries to reason.

In Ballabhgarh on Tuesday, Chautala also dismisses the JJP without naming it. "There are only three parties in Haryana - BJP, Congress and INLD. Other smaller parties do not matter. Don't vote for people who are fighting for their own self-interest," Chautala said.

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INLD authorises Om Prakash Chautala to decide on merger with Janata Parivar

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