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Fratricidal electoral battle in Haryana's Hisar over Devi Lal's legacy

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Hisar (Haryana), April 30 (IANS) A fratricidal battle is on within the clan of one of Haryana’s tallest Jat leaders and former deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal, whose founded regional party, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), and its offshoot outfit Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) are floundering.

Ranjit Singh Chautala, who is Devi Lal’s youngest son, and Singh’s two daughters-in-law of his eldest brother and five-time chief minister O.P. Chautala face one another in the dynastic supremacy feud from Haryana’s Hisar seat that will go to the polls along with nine other state parliamentary seats on May 25.

While Ranjit Singh, a Cabinet minister in the state government, is the BJP nominee, his two ‘bahus’ — Naina Chautala and Sunaina Chautala are the JJP and the INLD candidates, respectively.

While Naina is the mother of former deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala and wife of Ajay Chautala, who is Devi Lal’s grandson, Sunaina is the wife of Ravi Chautala, who is a son of INLD patriarch O.P. Chautala’s elder brother Pratap Chautala.

Naina, the first woman who took a political plunge in the 80-year-old history of the Chautala family and is known for ‘Hari Chunari ki Chaupal’ campaign to mobilise women voters, is a two-time legislator, while Sunaina has been leading INLD’s women’s wing since 2019.

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Naina was fielded for the first time from the Dabwali constituency in INLD’s stronghold in Sirsa district in the 2014 assembly elections after her husband Ajay Chautala and her father-in-law Om Prakash Chautala were sentenced to jail in junior basic trained (JBT) teachers scam in 2013.

Sandwiched among the Chautalas is a Congress nominee and three-time Hisar MP, Jai Prakash, nicknamed JP or Pradhan ji, who started his political journey as an activist of the Lok Dal (now the INLD) of Devi Lal, who was widely known as Jan Nayak or people’s leader.

Sitting Hisar MP Brijendra Singh, who is the son of Chaudhary Birender Singh, quit the BJP last month to join the Congress. He was one of the aspirants for the Congress ticket.

Interestingly, neither the Devi Lal clan nor the Congress nominee belong to the Hisar parliamentary constituency. The Devi Lal family belongs to the Sirsa district, while Jai Prakash belongs to the Kalayat Assembly constituency in the Kaithal district.

After the family feud within the INLD, O.P. Chautala’s Ajay and his son Dushyant split the party vertically in 2018 and formed the JJP. In 2019, the JJP extended support to the BJP to form the government in the state.

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Political observers told IANS the Congress candidate Jai Prakash, a confidante of two-time chief minister Bhupinder Hooda, has an edge over his rivals as he at the age of 32 became a deputy Union minister after he won his first Lok Sabha election in 1989 as the Janta Dal candidate.

Also, he knows each and every corner of the constituency, this being his eighth Lok Sabha poll from Hisar. He represented Hisar in 1989 as the Janata Dal nominee, in 1996 as a Bansi Lal-led Haryana Vikas Party candidate and in 2004 as the Congress nominee. He lost the Hisar seat in 1991, 1998, 2009 and 2011 by-polls.

Ajay Chautala’s son, Dushyant, won the Hisar parliamentary seat in 2014 by defeating Kuldeep Bishnoi, then a Haryana Janhit Congress candidate, but lost this seat to Brijendra Singh in 2019. Bishnoi, who claimed Bhajan Lal’s legacy and won this seat in 2011 after the demise of his father, was hoping to get a nomination from Hisar as a BJP candidate.

However, another member of Devi Lal’s family in the fray this time is Abhay Chautala, the younger son of O.P. Chautala. He’s contesting as an INLD candidate from Kurukshetra against BJP’s Naveen Jindal and INDIA block’s Sushil Gupta, who is Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) state chief.

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Popularly known as Tau, Chaudhary Devi Lal, who played an active role in the formation of Haryana as a separate state, died on April 6, 2001, at the age of 85.

The INLD was founded in October 1996 as Haryana Lok Dal (Rashtriya) by Devi Lal, who served as Deputy Prime Minister of India in the V.P. Singh’s Cabinet. His son O.P. Chautala is the current president. The party was renamed into its current name in 1998.

The Hisar constituency comprises nine assembly segments — Bawani Khera (reserved), Nalwa, Hisar, Barwala, Hansi, Adampur, Narnaud, Uklana (reserved) and Uchana.

Interestingly, no candidate has so far managed to win twice from the Hisar constituency on the same party’s ticket since 1966. Also, this constituency, where women are told to remain behind the ‘ghoonghat’ (veil), has never elected a woman as its representative in the Lok Sabha elections.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at gulatiians@gmail.com)

–IANS

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Act tough to save youth from drug menace, Punjab BJP chief tells CM

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Chandigarh, June 16 (IANS) Expressing shock and anguish over 14 deaths reported in Punjab in 14 days owing to drug abuse, Punjab BJP President Sunil Jakhar on Sunday urged Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to act tough to save Punjab’s youth from this menace.

“These tragic deaths have shaken the people and a Chief Minister, who every other day sells fake dreams of making a ‘Rangla Punjab’, must be forced to understand his duty towards the state,” Jakhar said in a statement.

“Punjab today needs an effective and urgent crackdown against those directly responsible for this heinous crime of killing our youngsters,” he said, adding the government has failed miserably to control drug menace with daily reports of drugs being available easily in villages and towns.

Jakhar reminded Bhagwant Mann of his own AAP MLAs publicly disclosing names of those under whose direct patronage drug trade is flourishing in the state and yet no action had been taken ever in the past two years.

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“What more information does the CM need to at least order a probe and bring those, however powerful, behind these deaths to book,” Jakhar asked.

–IANS

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First trial run of Sangaldan-Reasi train on USBRL successfully completed

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Jammu, June 16 (IANS) The first trial train successfully ran from Sangaldan to Reasi in J&K on Sunday, completing the rail link between the Valley and the rest of the country, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced.

“1st trial train has successfully run from Sangaldan to Reasi including crossing the Chenab Bridge. All construction works for the USBRL are nearly finished, with only tunnel No.1 remaining partially incomplete”, he said in a post on X.

Once work on tunnel 1 on this rail track is completed, the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link (USBRL) will become functional and make the dream of connecting the Valley with the rest of the country possible.

The 48.1-km-long Banihal-Sangaldan section of the USBRL was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 20 this year and includes the 359 m (1,178 ft) high Chenab Bridge, which is the tallest railway bridge in the world, and higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

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The total project cost in 2022 was Rs 28,000 crore.

Once operationalised, the USBRL will provide an all-weather surface rail link from the Valley to other parts of the country. The running of the train between the Valley and other parts of the country will provide cheaper transport facilities for the horticultural produce of Kashmir including apples, pears, cherries, walnuts, almonds etc. The industrial problem of bringing in the raw materials and transporting the finished products from the Valley will also become cheap and easily accessible.

–IANS

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BJP conspiring against Delhiites to create water crisis, alleges Atishi

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Delhi Water Minister Atishi on Sunday alleged that the BJP is conspiring against Delhiites and the party is responsible for the water crisis in the national capital.

She said that the conspiracy is three-fold.

First, the BJP is not allowing the Haryana government to release Delhi’s share of Yamuna water.

Second, she questioned BJP leaders for posing before the broken water pipelines, adding that the South Delhi Rising Mains — the main pipeline that carries water from Sonia Vihar WTP to South Delhi — was deliberately damaged to disrupt the supply of drinking water.

Third, she alleged that none other than supporters of former BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri vandalised the office of Delhi Jal Board in Chattarpur, disturbing law and order of the area.

“We have complained to the Delhi police and I have myself sent the video (of the incident) to DCP of South Delhi. We will await to see if an FIR is filed against former BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri by the Delhi Police. Will Delhi Police take cognizance of this video and file FIR against BJP goons?” Atishi questioned in a press conference held on Sunday.

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Earlier in the day, Atishi urged the city’s Police Commissioner to deploy police personnel to patrol and protect major water pipelines in the national capital for the next 15 days.

She said that the Delhi Jal Board ground patrolling team reported a major leakage in South Delhi Rising Mains since several large 375 mm bolts and one 12 inch bolt had been cut from the pipeline, causing the leakage.

“The fact that several large bolts had been cut seems to indicate foul play and sabotage.Our maintenance team worked for six hours continuously and repaired the leakage, but this meant that we had to stop pumping of water for six hours and 20 MGD of water was not pumped during that time. As a consequence, a further 25 per cent of water shortage will be experienced in south Delhi,” said Atishi, in a letter posted on X.

–IANS

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Union Home Minister directs security forces to ensure safe, smooth, incident-free Amarnath Yatra

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday urged security forces and the J&K administration to ensure a smooth, safe, and incident-free Amarnath Yatra this year.

The Union Home Minister chaired a high-level security review meeting here in the national capital, attended by J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, NSA Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, IB Director Tapan Deka, Army chief, Gen Manoj Pande, Army chief-designate Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, J&K Chief Secretary, Atal Dulloo, J&K DGP, R.R.Swain, CRPF DGP, Anish Dayal Singh, J&K’s ADGP, Law & Order, Vijay Kumar, IGP Jammu, Anand Jain, and senior army and intelligence officers.

Amit Shah advised the security forces that all needed measures should be taken to ensure a smooth, safe and incident-free Yatra that begins on June 29 and will end on August 19. He directed the security forces to maintain 24×7 vigil and surveillance on the national highway and other roads and streets which are used by the Yatris to reach the Valley.

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He also advised the security forces to ensure that the Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage and Shiv Khori temple pilgrimage take place without any hassles or inconvenience to the pilgrims.

He also directed the security forces to crush terrorism in the Jammu division and also ensure that it was wiped out from the Kashmir Valley at all costs. He assured all support in terms of resources and manpower to the security forces in their fight against terrorism.

–IANS

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Bengal BJP leader's relative apologises again for his derogatory comments on Amit Malviya

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Kolkata, June 16 (IANS) Santanu Sinha, an RSS associate in West Bengal having family links with BJP’s former national secretary Rahul Sinha, on Sunday issued a second letter of apology to BJP’s Information Technology Cell chief and the co-in-charge of the party’s state unit in West Bengal, Amit Malviya, over derogatory comments that he made in a Facebook post.

On June 8, Malviya’s counsel served a legal notice to Sinha on June 8 asking the latter to be asked to tender a public apology and also remove the slanderous social post within three days from the receipt of the legal notice, failing which Malviya will initiate legal proceedings, both civil and criminal, against him.

Since then, Sinha, a self-proclaimed president of an organisation in the name and style of Hindu Samhati, had forwarded two apology letters to Malviya.

In the letter, Sinha said that he repented from “the depth of his soul” for the development arising out of the “misinterpretation of my post which has harmed and hampered the reputation of Malviya as a person and BJP as a political party”.

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“I so express my apology to your client as a person and to BJP as the political party for the harassment and dishonour caused by the misinterpretation of my post,” the letter dated June 16 read.

In his last letter, Sinha also reminded that he had already posted another article on the same social media on June 10. He has clarified the original and actual meaning of that controversial post against which the legal notice was issued to him.

–IANS

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