2019 LS polls: Badal-led SAD, Chautala’s INLD facing severe crises because of family feuds
Two regional political parties of the North Region, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) are facing major crises ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections because of family feuds
Two regional political parties of the North Region – Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) - are facing a major crises ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. While veteran SAD and Taksali leaders have challenged the command of SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal, a strong family feud in Haryana's influential Chautala family has caused a vertical split in the INLD.
The SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal was even forced to tender his resignation from the post following the ongoing revolt among the Akali and Taksali leaders and workers who have challenged the dominance of the Badal family in the party for a long time. On the other hand, the INLD, an old political partner of the BJP in the previous NDA government, is perhaps under the worst crises since its formation due to a family feud that has now spilt on to the streets of Haryana.
The problems have been simmering in both the parties but the split came last month, creating ripples in the political spheres in their regions.
Sidelined by the autocratic Badal family, the party’s old guards and so called Taklasi and Akali stalwarts started voicing their displeasure with Sukhbir Singh Badal’s leadership after 2017 Assembly Elections in Punjab when SAD could win just 13 out 117 seats. The discontented leaders stressed on the need for infusing new life to the party that was gradually losing its grip in Punjab over the last decade.
The SAD suffered a major setback with Rajya Sabha member and senior Akali Dal leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa quitting all party posts in September end. Three other stalwarts, Ranjit Singh Brahmpura (MP), Rattan Singh Ajnala (ex-MP) and Sewa Singh Sekhwan followed him and raised the banner of revolt against the domination of the Badal family in the SAD.
The depths of discontent among the party leaders could be gauged from the fact that the SAD Chief Patron Parkash Singh Badal’s intervention to bring the rebels in line failed to yield results. Encouraging dynastic succession in the party, Parkash Singh Badal handed over the baton of SAD affairs to his son Sukhbir Singh Badal in 2008. This was the first instance in the history of SAD when the party president handed over the presidentship to his son thus causing a severe heartburn to the party’s old guards.
Will the rebels meet the same fate as that of former Akali stalwarts GS Tohra and Capt. Kanwaljit Singh ?
Former Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra and former Punjab Finance Minister Capt. Kanwaljit Singh were considered potential candidates for the top posts in the SAD and were thus major threats to the Badal family.
They were both mass leaders from the Malwa region who faced the wrath of SAD president Parkash Singh Badal for raising his voice in dissent. Their families were allegedly wiped out from Punjab politics. Their families were marginalized and were denied party tickets thereafter.
While Tohra was chased out of the party on health grounds, the death of Capt. Kanwaljit Singh (killed in a road accident on the busy Chandigarh-Ludhiana road in Kharar on March 9, 2009) still remains a mystery. The Badal family was seeing Capt. Kanwaljit as main threat to its supremacy after he lodged a strong protest over giving the party’s command in the immature hands of Sukhbir Badal.
Another old political partner of the BJP, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), a regional political party of the Haryana state. It was struggling for its political existence under the leadership of Abhay Chautala after its Supremo Om Prakash Chautala and his son Ajay Chautala were convicted in the teachers’ recruitment scam, sustained a major blow following a family feud.
Differences between Abhay Singh Chautala and his nephews - Dushyant Chautala, MP from Hisar Lok Sabha seat, Digvijay Singh Chautala, National President of Indian National Students Organization, a student’s wing of INLD - have been simmering since the rally organised to celebrate 105th birth anniversary of Chaudhary Devi Lal, a former Deputy Prime Minister of India, at Gohana.
Both Dushyant and Digvijay were accused of creating ruckus in the celebration following which they were suspended from the party’s primary membership. After their suspension Dushyant and Digvijay staked claim to the party and a meeting with Abhay in the presence of Om Parkash Chautal failed to resolve the difference.
On October 28, Naina Singh Chautala, MLA from Dabwali, came to the rescue of her sons - Dushyant and Digvijay- seeking public support for them. While addressing a public rally in Karnal, Naina Chautala claimed that a faction within the party was responsible for her sons’ suspension but that wouldn’t be able to suppress their voice.
She also claimed that her husband Ajay Singh Chautala had given 40 years of his life to the INLD and when he was in jail, certain insiders hatched a conspiracy to expel his sons from the party.
Chautala brothers fate akin to Ranjeet Singh Chautala: Warns Abhay Chautala
In Hisar, Abhay Singh Chautala addressed a public rally on October 29 and warned his disgruntled nephews without naming them that whosoever tries to weaken the party would meet a fate akin to Ranjeet Singh Chautala.
Ranjit Singh Chautala has not been able to win the Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha elections in the last 36 years, he said.
Ranjeet Singh Chautala is the youngest son of late Devi Lal and younger brother of Om Prakash Chautala. He was elected from the Rodi Assembly segment in Sirsa district in 1987 as Lok Dal candidate. He later shifted his loyalty towards the Congress party while revolting against Om Prakash Chautala for taking party’s command in his hands.