File photo of INLD chief Abhay Chautala. | Photo: ANI
File photo of INLD chief Abhay Chautala. | Photo: ANI
Text Size:

On Wednesday, I went to interview Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Abhay Chautala in Chandigarh. On the agenda was Haryana’s political landscape.

For clarity, since the Chautalas are a complex political clan, Abhay is one of the two sons of former CM Om Prakash Chautala, who is currently jailed for corruption. Abhay’s brother Ajay and his son Dushyant are estranged from the patriarch’s politics. Dushyant founded his own Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) in 2018, won 10 seats in a House of 90, and is now a coalition partner and Deputy CM in the BJP-led Haryana government.

The JJP voted in favour of the Manohar Lal Khattar government in the no-confidence motion in the assembly last week.

From the original party, there was only one MLA elected, Abhay Chautala. He resigned from the House in January, protesting against the Narendra Modi government’s new farm laws.

I reached his office at 7.30 pm, the designated time, as his team had informed me that he would be arriving from Delhi around this time. They asked me to reach on the dot.

My driver parked the car outside Chautala’s house. As I walked inside, the housekeepers showed me to the small office where Chautala was already present along with five associates.

I began the interview straightaway, with a question on the INLD’s position on the farmers’ agitation. He responded that INLD is in the hearts of the people.

Asked about the future of his estranged nephew Dushyant Chautala’s JJP, Chautala said the JJP is in an unpopular alliance.

He further emphasised that he has his ear to the ground, while the ruling JJP, the BJP and the opposition Congress are missing from public gatherings. He added that the JJP’s image has been damaged.

At this point, I posed my second question: Why did Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala part ways with him? And how did he perceive Dushyant’s current political moves?

He spoke at length about how Dushyant is as corrupt as his father Ajay Chautala, who “sold party tickets”. “The whole family is morally corrupt,” said Chautala. I interrupted to point out that both of them were a part of the same family.

At this point, his behaviour, which was merely sullen and unpleasant until then, suddenly got much worse.

‘Tum patrakar’

Chautala had already referred to me dismissively as “tum patrakar (you journalists)” thrice. As I objected, finally, to say that he should not use this disrespectful tone, he asked his domestic help to bring a bowl for him to spit into.

Every time I asked questions about Dushyant, Chautala got angrier. To each of my questions, he had only two-three phrases to offer — “unpopular government”, “BJP agent”, etc, and all of it in crass, mostly unprintable language.

His tone kept worsening. He told me, contemptuously: “Tu patrakarita seekh (go learn journalism).”

Even after I objected to this behaviour, Chautala didn’t budge. His associates too kept watching silently as he continued to spit in the bowl in front of us.

Then Chautala made calls to farmer leader Rakesh Tikait as the latter had reached his Teja Kheda farm house after a protest in a bordering Rajasthan district.

Chautala then again dismissively used the term, “tum saare patrakar”. I asked him to not address me in an insulting manner.

I planned to leave after asking my last question: What about Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda? To this, he said, “He is a BJP agent.”

Do you have any proof for this allegation, I asked. Chautala loosely referred to an incident when Hooda allegedly didn’t sign a letter — a move that Chautala claimed turned out to be in favour of the BJP. He said this was how “BJP got a chance to send their member to the Rajya Sabha”. This was seemingly a reference to the Rajya Sabha election of Zee TV owner Subhash Chandra in 2016.

I asked him again, how would he establish Hooda as a BJP agent?

He replied, “Tu jaanti nahin ho ek Rajya Sabha member bill sign na kare to sarkar gir jaati hai. Bill wapis Lok Sabha mein jaata hai aur sarkar unpopular ho kar gir jaati hai. (You don’t know anything. If a Rajya Sabha member doesn’t sign a bill, governments fall. The bill gets returned to Lok Sabha and the government falls due to unpopularity.)”

I questioned his vague statement, asking for an instance when a Rajya Sabha member refused to sign a bill and the central government collapsed.

He lost his temper at this point and started shouting. “Tu nikal yahan se. Ho gaya interview. Bhaag yahan se. Bahut dekhe patrakar. (Get out from here. The interview is done. Get out. Have seen many journalists).”

I got up to leave and said: “You are misbehaving with a journalist whom you have given an appointment for an interview.”

He responded: “Haan, kar raha hun badtameezi. Report mein meri badtameezi ke baare mein bhi likh dena. (Yes I’m misbehaving. Go write about it in your report.)”

For me, still very new to the political beat at the age of 26, this was a true baptism by fire. In the course of time, I will surely grow a thick skin. But this isn’t an experience I want a repeat of any time again.

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

VIEW COMMENTS

50 COMMENTS

  1. Its not only politicians who misbehave but some journalist incite them to do so. Journalist also should be reasonable while questioning and simply not drag the unpleasant questions. Abhay Singh is a nice man and a wonderful leader and hold special place in the heart of haryana farmers.

  2. Dear Jyoti Yadav
    The fragile democracy is at its crudest display! Barring few the political class is deeply rooted in power and money and the man you went to interview is no exception.
    Farmers movement is clearly writing a new script for emerging new India and they are carefully removing this class from entering their arena.
    Good luck to you!

  3. Lol when you try to find avenues to attack Modi it boomerangs eventually…Maa Kali ka ashirwad hai Hindu aur Modi pe, kaun kya ukhad lega…

  4. Sold Media . They are not Generalist , They are Paid Workers of B.J.P. Shame on these kind of Media……

  5. I’m glad you wrote about your experience…
    more power to you Jyoti!
    Especially love the work done by female journalists at The Print!

  6. Madam g if the interview is planed than I think questions //issue were also discussed as you wrote you don’t have etiquette knowledge of political issue than why asking these type of questions may be every person have some political relations some say congress is good some says bjp is good & some says inld or jjp is good but as per journalist code no one can clearly take side of any party …

  7. All Chautalas are corrupt…….they sold the land when in power and are downright criminals….they should never be allowed in any political circle.

  8. THE ARROGANCE of this politician has risen to the zenith of immorality. The journalist has nailed him completely. Such politicians are a bane to the sane world in which we live.

  9. Ye chor hai, tameez nahi hai baat karne ki or apne aap ko bahut bara neta samjhte hai….haryana k loote hue paise kha kar jinda hai abhi tak…non-sence

  10. Your basic knowledge is wrong.
    You have written “Abhay is one of the two sons of former CM Om Prakash Chautala, who is currently jailed for corruption. ”

    But actually ajay chautala is currently in jail.
    Yes father of dushyant i.e ajay chautala is in jail.

    Abhay chautala leader of Inld is not in jail.

    • Your reading of the article is incorrect (although the writer missed a comma which probably is the cause of confusion). The currently in jail refers to On Prakash Chautala.

  11. This type of culture in India politics will end the day people stop going to their rallies and attending them in lacs. It will end the day people will start questioning the politicians for they deserve, but politicians think that they are doing a favour to the people.

  12. Definitely Mr.Abhey’s way oF talking is very rude.I have witnessed it so many times.I come from his native area.

  13. Why go and take interview of such uncouth Politicians. Leave them alone not fit to be interviewed.

  14. The only decent Haryanvi I know of is Mr. Shekhar Gupta. The rest are like Mr. Abhay Chautala only.

  15. Faltu ka attitude dikha raha tha , itna gussa kis baat ka , ek seat ka ghamand hai ya barso ka kiye hoye bharshtachaar ka , abhi mauka mila izzat bachane ka usse bhi duba di chutala ji ghamand to sikander ka bhi nahi raha

  16. Abhi to gaye ni ho godi media valo tum ground par , tumhara desh ko barbad karne m bhot bada hath h, journalist ki ijjat utar kr fenk di h tumne , bhul gye ho kya h asli patrakarita , shukar manao k chautala ne to tum jese patrakaro se baat bhi kri

  17. I guess I would give benefit of doubt instead of being judgemental about somebody I would meet for the first team. He could have been in a foul mood due to some prior reason.

    I am also not sure why would a journalist who has gone to secure a political interview need to know reasons of family fallout.

    I am also not sure of any merit in reminding somebody about his or her family background – corrupt or otherwise

    So in a way he is right about need for Ms.Yadav gaining more experience.

    There is absolutely no reason to make someone angry and create deliberate collosion

  18. If someone asks you to jump from the building it is only a mad man who would jump. Even if he told you to print what he said you should not print it but should have written this report in the same truthful manner. I think you would have been quite aware that this was going to happen like this, that he would behave rudely. When you have accepted this profession this is the part of the job. At other occasion you might get a very polite treatment but that person may not say the truth or may not be honest. Apart from hostility in him don’t you agree that morning to eve Inc barrage in most polite language of another central leader of his achievements is equally disturbing to radio listeners (you listen to radio news, radio programmes first and then reply)? I’m not at all siding his rude behaviour, just putting across my views.

  19. If she is Zee news reporter or Republican tv reporter , then ist they should judged their senior journalism leval

  20. Same people who defending him will cry one day when one of them destroy there life. Shame on such monsters

  21. This kind of arrogance stupid behaviour shown by this so called politician is really shameful. We should ensure that this kind of arrogant politics should not occur anywhere by not voting for such parties. This will show them their true face.

  22. A third rate “leader” with all the charisma of a Haryanvi buffalo. I wonder what the people of Haryana see in these two bit dynasts. Ironically, this leader who has served a term as the Leader of Opposition in Haryana Legislative Assembly doesn’t even know that the Union Government doesn’t fall if a bill is defeated in the Rajya Sabha.

  23. Aise politicians ko sadak pe khada karke chappal se pitna chahiye. Inn logo ko mahila ki izzat karni nahi aati aur ye pradesh ko chalana chahte hai

  24. As far as saying TU or TUM is not a disrespectful word in haryana culture specially for younger. It’s very common phrase in conversation. But a leader may adopt speak formally

    However other issues regarding family matters, no comment till full interview video is seen.

  25. Sorry to hear it but most of the time you will ask for proof from these lalu, kalu, bhalu’s allegations against BJP they will not give any but just abuse yiu if yourl question them.. That’s how silly is our opposition today.

  26. Ye hitler ke vanshaj hai ….aur log inko phechaan nhi rhe. Jinko kisi bat ki tameej nhi hai…shame on abhay chautala.

  27. If you have the courage then go and ask the same kind of questions in the same tone to Dushyant and khattar then evaluate, don’t judge a person by his emotions.
    Ground level reporting always reveals truth

    • How can you justify his behavior regardless of what Dushyant and Khattar has to say? Is this a way to talk to a young woman? He is a public representative. She was doing her job and if he didn’t want to answer any question, he could simply deny to comment on it.

  28. when will this bahubali culture will end from our society, why every lawmakers think that they are above law. they still think that they are the rular of the kingdom, democracy always in there back pocket.

    • How can you blame all Jats and Khaps of Haryana on behalf of mis behaviour of one person. It shows your malinge thoughts

    • The same haryana which sends most of his son to army and try to stop barbaric middle east invasions in history,so dont call the whole haryana as same

    • Don’t blame whole community….What was actual scene of interview, we don’t know about that…And everybody know about the veracity of media in current scenario…

Comments are closed.