Amid growing resentment against JJP and BJP in Haryana over the contentious farm laws, a group of villagers damaged a helipad in Uchana, where they were expecting Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala to land Thursday. They also released videos of the helipad being dug up with shovels.
Meanwhile, Dushyant offered to act as a mediator between the farmers and the Union government to resolve the ongoing standoff.
Some farmers, who waved black flags and dug up a portion of the temporary helipad at Karsandhu village in Dushyant’s constituency, claimed that their protest had forced him to cancel his visit there. Police, however, said the protest by a small group of farmers took place hours after they were informed that the visit had been cancelled.
The protesters asked Dushyant to choose between power or side with farmers protesting the Centre’s farm laws. The protesters said till the time Dushyant does not come in their support, they will hold protests against the JJP leader.
“He should resign and stand with farmers. If he has to support the BJP, let him but then we will not allow him to enter Uchana. He is a great-grandson of Chaudhary Devi Lal, the messiah of farmers who dedicated his entire life for their sake. But Dushyant is clinging to power. He will have to make a choice now,” said farmer leader Krishan Kumar.
“We wanted to greet him with black flags because he continues to support the anti-farmer BJP government,” said another protesting farmer.
Dushyant is the JJP MLA from Uchana. His party with 10 MLAs is supporting the BJP, which has 40 members in the 90-member state assembly.
The JJP, meanwhile, said there was no visit planned to Uchana.
“There was no official programme of deputy chief minister to go to Uchana. Instead, he was addressing a press conference here in Chandigarh. Then he flew to Delhi. Several times there are tentative programmes, for instance attending some social functions at a party worker’s place etc. Uchana programme could have been one of those,” a JJP leader told The Indian Express.
Talking to media persons in Chandigarh, Dushyant said, “No solution can be reached without talks.”
“When the Union government is making efforts in this regard, the 40 farmer unions who are leading these protests should also come forward and participate in talks for the betterment of farmers. I hope talks will be held in the coming few days and that would lead to a positive outcome. Even during Anna Hazare’s movement for Lokpal, a decision could only be reached after discussions. Farmer unions should inform the Government what amendments they propose in the new agriculture laws and should have a detailed discussion on every single point. Union government is continuously inviting the unions for talks, now the leaders heading the farmer unions should realise their responsibility towards farmers and give their suggestions to the Centre so that a conclusion can be reached,” Dushyant added.
In reply to another question, he said, “Changes need to be made in the agriculture laws and in this regard, written suggestions have been made to the Centre and the Centre also agreed to the same. Government is ready to include the guarantee of MSP in writing, to make amendments to Electricity Amendment Bill among other demands. If the Centre gives me the responsibility to mediate on those changes that are not being included, I am ready to do the needful.”
The deputy CM, who has been supporting the three farm legislations, had earlier said that he would resign the day he fails to ensure MSP for farmers in Haryana.
Farmer unions continue to raise anti-government slogans at numerous places, outside the residences of various senior BJP and JJP leaders in their respective constituencies.
BJP and JJP leaders, however, have been dismissing them as acts orchestrated by the Opposition.
A few days earlier, villagers had also damaged a makeshift helipad in Parha village of Karnal where Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had to land for an official function. Khattar, however, later changed his scheduled programme and did not go to the village. Later, the police initiated action against the people who had damaged the helipad.
Chaduni message on Ambala incident
Reacting to the attempt to murder charge levelled against protestors in Ambala for allegedly blocking Khattar’s cavalcade vehicles and damaging them with sticks Tuesday, BKU’s Gurnam Singh Chaduni too released a video.
“I would request you to appeal to all my brothers and people of Haryana that they must launch an intense protest wherever Khattar goes. But they should not indulge in violence, his vehicles should not be attacked, nobody should pelt stones on the CM’s cavalcade, but we must continue our protests and keep showing him the black flags. Let them register any number of FIRs against us, let them arrest as many of us as they want, but we shall continue to protest till the time these black laws are repealed,” Chaduni said in the video.
Farmers to MLA: Whose side are you on?
A large number of people also protested outside the office of JJP MLA Devender Babli in Tohana, Fatehabad district.
“We have come here only to seek a reply from our MLA on whether he is with the people of his constituency, with the farmers, labourers or with corporates.
When he used to come to us seeking votes, there never used to be any water canons or police. Today, when we have come here to seek his reply to our question, such heavy police deployment and water canons are here to stop us. Our MLA should make clear to us, which side he is on,” protestors said outside Devender Babli’s office in Tohana.
In Uklana, JJP MLA and Minister of State Anoop Dhanak too faced protests as the people gheraoed his residence and shouted slogans against the government.
A few days earlier, a huge gathering of farmers had gheraoed BJP leader and Education Minister Kanwar Pal in Jagadhari.
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