Chautala vs Chautala

So far considered ideal brothers, Ajay Singh Chautala and Abhay Singh Chautala, the two sons of INLD supremo Om Prakash Chautala, are very different personalities

Ajay Singh Chautala 

Ajay Singh, who is on 14-days furlough from Tihar Jail these days where he is serving 10-year imprisonment in JBT recruitment scam with his father Om Prakash Chautala, has launched a tirade against Abhay Singh by touring across the state for expulsion of his sons Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala and INLD’s student wing INSO’s convener Digvijay Chautala from the party. Ajay (57) won his first electoral battle from the Danta Ramgarh Assembly seat under the Sikar parliamentary seat of Rajasthan in 1989 with a handsome margin. The seat had been the stronghold of his grandfather and INLD’s founder Chaudhary Devi Lal, who also remained the Deputy Prime Minister. In 1993, Ajay again contested Assembly poll from Rajasthan. This time, he chose Nohar Assembly segment where his younger brother Abhay is married and his in-laws, the Matoria family, has a considerable clout. Abhay’s brother-in-law Abhishek Matoria is the sitting MLA from Nohar now. 

In 1999, Ajay contested from Bhiwani and went on to become Lok Sabha member. He remained member of the Rajya Sabha from 2003 to 2009 and became MLA from Dabwali Assembly segment in 2009, a seat he was still representing when a Special CBI Court in Delhi sentenced him and his father in case of JBT recruitment in January 2013. Those close to the family describe Ajay as a soft spoken politician who has the art of striking a chord with his supporters. From his demeanour, he never lets a person judge whether he is happy or unhappy with him. “So much so that when in power, he would never let a visitor guess if he would recommend his cause or not,” says an insider.

Abhay Singh Chautala

Unlike his elder brother, Abhay Singh started his political career from Haryana, and that too from the grassroots level by winning a panchayat election from his ancestral Chautala village. In a byelection in 2000, Abhay won the Rori Assembly seat in Sirsa by a landslide victory. In 2005, he became chairman of the zila parishad. In 2009, Abhay was elected to the state Assembly in a byelection held at Ellenabad in Sirsa after Chautala won from Uchana and Ellenabad and vacated the latter seat. Abhay won Ellenebad Assembly seat again in 2014 and became leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly.

Till his father and elder brother were convicted and sentenced in JBT recruitment scam, Abhay was never considered heir to Chautala’s legacy. Rather, he always preferred to play second fiddle to Ajay. Abhay was more active in sports politics and became president of the Indian Olympic Association before he had to resign in 2014 following charges of disproportionate assets against him. Unlike Ajay, Abhay prefers to speak out his mind. Insiders, however, say that Abhay is a great friend and can go to any extent to help them. 

When Chautala and Ajay were convicted in January 2013, the perception was that the party would disintegrate. However, Abhay led the party meticulously in the trying circumstances in 2014 parliamentary and Assembly elections and despite a strong Modi wave, the INLD won two Lok Sabha seats and INLD-SAD combine got 20 Assembly seats. Abhay’s younger son Arjun Chautala is yet to contest an election.

— SM

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