INld FiGht eXcites BJP, coNGress
The possibility of a split in the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has emerged following the expulsion of Dushyant Chautala and Digvijay Chautala—party patriarch Om Prakash Chautala’s grandsons. Dushyant is a Lok Sabha Member. Both the BJP and the Congress have stated fishing in INLD’s troubled waters. Both are expecting an exodus from the INLD, which has been out of power for over 14 years. The BJP is hopeful of a split in the INLD’s Jat votes and a consolidation of non-Jat votes in its favour, giving it an edge in next year’s elections. The BJP is also claiming that several INLD functionaries, including former and current legislators, are in touch with them. Two BJP ministers, Anil Vij and Krishan Dev Kamboj, have already shown their “affection” for Dushyant Chautala, saying that “they are welcome to join the BJP”. Sanjay Bhatia, BJP general secretary, told The Sunday Guardian that “Factionalism in the Congress and the INLD will prove their nemesis. Our excellent performance at the Central and state levels will put the BJP at a great advantage.”
On the other hand, the Congress believes that an INLD split will further strengthen the hands of former Jat CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and consolidate Jat votes in its favour. It also believes that a split in the INLD will “neutralise” any advantage the party will have accrued from its recent alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party.