Chautala’s parole from jail vital for INLD to find feet

Chautala’s parole from jail vital for INLD to find feet

 Former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala. (Image courtesy ANI/Twitter)

The falling stock of the besieged principal opposition party in Haryana, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), is fast threatening to erode its political fortune ahead of the general elections.

The Chautala-led party is now banking on the outcome of a parole plea that will decide whether jailed former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala will be out of prison before elections.

The senior Chautala appears to be the last hope for the party battling a 'crisis of existence' post the split in the party owing to a family feud. Its MLAs are quitting and cadre eroding fast. The INLD that was a formidable force once in Jatland has been out of power for over 15 years now. The INLD won two seats in the last general elections, but its vote share was ahead of the Congress at 24.4%.

The senior Chautala was denied parole once earlier by AAP’s Delhi government ahead of the recently held crucial Jind by-elections, which the INLD lost badly by finishing fifth. The AAP had supported the party of senior Chautala’s estranged son and nephew’s, the Janata Jannayak Party (JJP) in the elections and Chautala’s presence could have adversely impacted the prospects of the JJP in its debut poll.

INLD workers want the party veteran out of jail to hold the party and factions together and inspire the leaders and the cadre. His presence in Haryana, if not for active campaigning, could help party salvage lost prestige in upcoming assembly elections. A poor show by the INLD this time around may further doom its political fortune in the assembly polls.

The senior Chautala has sought parole before the Delhi High Court on the ground that he would like to be with his critically ill wife during her ‘last days’. Chautala is serving a 10-year jail term in teachers' recruitment scam case. Next hearing will take place on April 12.