Dushyant Chautala: The US educated Jat kingmaker of Haryana
Founder of a barely one-year-old political outfit, Chautala has emerged as ‘kingmaker’ in Haryana following the possibility of a hung Assembly
Politics is a game of numbers but for a young politician who had been ‘denied his rights’ and whose great grandfather had occupied the second most powerful seat in the country, politics indeed is a matter of legacy also.
And that is exactly what 31-year-old Dushyant Chautala, the youngest-ever Lok Sabha MP, played upon during the Haryana assembly elections held on October 21, whose results are about to be declared.
Following a bitter fall out from his uncle Abhay Chautala in a legacy-war, Dushyant Chautala formed his own party, Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) merely 319 days ago, and proving all predictions right, has now emerged as the ‘kingmaker’ of Haryana in less than a year.
No matter who – BJP or Congress - forms the government in Haryana, Dushyant’s support is inevitable.
Having won 10 seats, Dushyant holds the key to power in the 90 member Haryana Assembly. His victory proves that he is heir apparent of Chaudhary Devi Lal’s political legacy and the face of the new Jat aspirations.
Analysts believe that Dushyant’s rise should be seen in the context of an assertion by Jats who had been pushed to the margins by the BJP for quite some time in the state politics.
A graduate from California State University, US, Dushyant has been successful in establishing a chord with young Jats, said a Haryana observer.
After completing his Masters of Law degree from National Law University, Dushyant had joined politics in 2014 and in his first-ever election, defeated a heavyweight of Haryana politics, Kuldeep Bishnoi, with a considerable margin.
He holds the ‘Limca Book of Records’ for being the youngest-ever elected Member of the Parliament. Among other records, he also holds the record of being the first Indian who had been conferred with the highest civilian honour in the state of Arizona, USA.
His record as a member of Parliament too has been good, with the PRS website pegging his attendance at 82 per cent. He has also participated in 239 debates (against a national average of 67 per cent), asked 677 questions (national average: 293) and put up 21 private member’s bills (national average: 2.3).
Those who know Dushyant say he has ability to navigate through complex political landscape of Haryana along with the flexibility and will to connect with the people.
“He mingles with people as quickly and as easily as his great grandfather Devi Lal did,” recalled a senior journalist who covered his campaign. “However, he is soft spoken and educated. His political exterior is not rough, although he is rebellious at heart,” he added.
When in December 2018, his uncle Abhay Chautala — leader of the INLD — expelled him from the party, he captured the youth wing and did not shy away from clashing on the streets with INLD supporters.
Abhay Chautala tried to dismiss Dushyant as a novice, saying, “Everybody is not capable of floating a political party and then continue with it.” He responded to his uncle-turned-political arch-rival by organising a huge rally in Jind in which, it is said, nearly 6 lakh people participated.
From being a member of Parliament to the kingmaker of Haryana, the most significant milestone in Dushyant Chautala’s political career so far was the Jind by-election in which his party secured second position, pushing the Congress to the third spot.
Haryana watchers feel that the socialist outlook of his party and core issues affecting Jats such as the agrarian crisis, health, loss of jobs and unemployment among youths helped Dushyant in snatching the key to the power from his uncle and becoming the youngest ever kingmaker of Haryana.