Chautala: a classic case of rogue progenies in politics

Right since his initiation into politics, he has learnt how to do politics without adhering to the traditional rulebook of politics

ajay

Ajay Singh | January 16, 2013


Chautala has been kept in a cell at Rohini court
Chautala has been kept in a cell at Rohini court

In the eighties when Chaudhary Devi Lal was famous as the Tau of Indian politics, his son Om Prakash Chautala came across as a rogue progeny of an influential jat leader in Haryana. Chautala Jr’s idiosyncrasies that often bordered on outright criminality were condoned by a political class which developed a peculiar penchant for nursing their sons and daughters as future leaders.

Read updates: Chautala, son arrested

When VP Singh became the prime minister and Devi Lal his deputy, Chautala’s bullying escapades knew no bounds. In 1990, during a by-election at Meham, an assembly constituency, he scripted a new political thriller by staging booth-capturing in broad daylight in front of the national and international media. “Mayhem in Meham,” screamed the headlines of an English newspaper. The two words became synonyms in the media for a while. Though the election was countermanded, Chautala’s hectoring conduct could never be tamed by a complicit political leadership.

After Chaudhary Devi Lal’s death, Chautala inherited the political legacy of his father like a true blue-blooded royal. Despite his antecedents, he was promoted and given legitimacy either by fellow politicians or his “uncles” associated with his father. This was the reason for Chautala getting political primacy through his association with the BJP or the third front. For reasons specific to Haryana politics, he could not get close to the Congress even though he and his family are treated like the first family of the state; impervious to scrutiny of law despite the eccentric conduct of Chautala and his progenies.

In fact, Haryana presents a classic case of democracy getting hijacked by a group of political families whose uncharitable public conduct is a non-issue in the elections. So deep is the culture of political patronage to each other that those in power often show scant regard for the rule of law. Chautala is an authentic product of this political culture and is least afraid of the rule of law. Right since his initiation into politics, he has learnt how to do politics without adhering to the traditional rulebook of politics. And he developed his own brand of politics into a fine art and found acceptance even from all quarters. In politics, he was not averse to sharing power with the left and found acceptance even from the BJP.

Today, law has caught up with him and he has gone behind the bars.

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