Dushyant Chautala Says Party Intact After Split With BJP

Dushyant Chautala: The JJP boss spoke exclusively to NDTV (File).

New Delhi:

Dushyant Chautala told NDTV Wednesday that no member of his Jannayak Janata Party had quit following last week’s split with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Haryana – a rift that cost the party a prominent place in the ruling alliance and Mr Chautala the Deputy Chief Minister’s chair.

“If you are saying someone has left… then that is wrong. No MLA has resigned or parted ways. Yes, there was a whip that was issued. It was decided we would abstain (from the floor test for the new government led by Nayab Singh Saini) and we did. We had five MLAs at a rally addressed by our President (Ajay Singh Chautala, the founder and Mr Chautala’s father) and five in Chandigarh.”

“I have not of heard a single MLA resigning. If, in the future, someone resigns, then… I mean, now it is political season, in which one person jumps to one party and a second person jumps back,” Mr Chautala told NDTV.

Mr Chautala also confirmed what was widely reported – that the BJP-JJP rift was over a failed Lok Sabha seat-share deal – but quashed talk that the discord had extended to half his 10 MLAs crossing over. He stressed the JJP cadre remains committed to success in the Lok Sabha election and the Assembly poll.

“I just want one to make one clear statement on all of this… we were discussing seat-share deals in the NDA (the BJP-led alliance). There were four rounds of meetings in Delhi… in the end we could not agree on the numbers, so the JJP expressed its views. We told the BJP will not contest any Lok Sabha seat with them, but said we need to finalise the Assembly deal,” he said.

“I think after that the BJP took its decision – that the Chief Minister (Mr Khattar) will resign and a new government will be formed. We decided not to be part of this government,” he explained.

READ | New Haryana Chief Minister Clears Test Day After BJP-JJP Break-up

Mr Chautala said the decision was taken “as a cadre… as a party” that wanted to go out and win every Lok Sabha seat; Haryana has 10, all of which were won by the BJP in the last election. He said he also told the BJP the two parties also needed to sit down and plan for the Assembly election.

READ | BJP Wants 10/10 In Haryana Lok Sabha Polls, Faces INDIA Challenge

“We demanded Hisar and Bhiwani-Mahendragarh… BJP wanted to give Rohtak. But by then there were messages that we will go out and cut votes…” he said, hinting at behind-the-scenes discord.

“Every party has one agenda – the cadre has to increase and vote share has to increase. In the past we have seen this, even with BJP, which had two MPs and now has 303. I think it is our cadre’s dream also to have all 10 MPs from Haryana and for the state’s voice to be strong,” he continued.

Mr Chautala told NDTV the focus for him, now, is to ensure a first Lok Sabha win for the JJP and then ramp up the party’s strength in the Assembly – from 10 to 46, the magic number that will allow him to form the next state government independent of the BJP or any other party.

Should that target require a re-alignment of political interests, whether with the BJP or the Congress, this cannot be ruled out, Mr Chautala said. “What happens in the future… in different political scenarios… this can only be discussed after the Assembly election. For now our goal is only to work hard and get a good result. Ruling out scenarios for the future is not possible now,” he explained.

BJP-JJP Haryana Break-Up. What Happened?

Ten days ago Mr Chautala was the Deputy Chief Minister and his JJP was a member of the state government. That changed over a whirlwind 48 hours; ML Khattar quit as the Chief Minister, the cabinet followed, and the BJP re-formed the government with support from the independents.

And then there was the JJP’s whip, which directed its MLAs to abstain from a test of the new government’s strength. The whip was seen by some as a calculated move to ensure the new government passed its test, since abstention made it easier for the party to pass the majority mark.

READ | Ahead Of BJP’s Haryana Floor Test, Ex-Ally’s Whip Raises Eyebrows

The flux in the state’s political landscape played out against talk the BJP cut its former ally lose to destabilise the opposition INDIA bloc – to force a division of Jat community votes between the two parties – before the Lok Sabha election in April/May and the Assembly election later this year.

Mr Chautala, who maintained radio silence during the split, later issued a diplomatic comment, thanking the people for their support and promising to continue working for the state.

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