With most of the 10 JJP MLAs coming out in support of the protesting farmers, the BJP ally in Haryana Tuesday backed their demand for assured MSP for crops. JJP chief Ajay Singh Chautala, the father of Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, said the Centre should consider inclusion of MSPs in the farm laws. “What is the problem in writing one line?” Ajay Chautala said.
Dushyant’s younger brother and JJP leader Digvijay said the JJP would decide its “future strategy” depending on talks between farmers and the Centre.
The farmers are demanding that either the MSP guarantee be weaved into the current farm laws or a separate law be introduced to ensure the same. On Tuesday, several JJP MLAs, some of whom have been backing the farmers’ objections to the new farm laws from the start, came out in their support.
Regretting that “annadata” are sitting on the roads, Ajay Chautala said, “There are statements by the (Union) Agriculture Minister and the Prime Minister himself that we will continue MSPs. Then it should be added (in the document). What is the problem in writing one line?… We want a solution as early as possible. We have urged government functionaries to resolve the problems of farmers.”
In a tweet later, the JJP chief reiterated: “The problems of the farmers should be removed with a unanimous resolution… The Centre should consider inclusion of MSP in the Act.”
With 10 MLAs in the 90-member Assembly, the JJP — Jannayak Janata Party — is a junior alliance partner in the Manohar Lal Khattar-led government. An Independent legislator, Sombir Sangwan, on Tuesday withdrew support to the state government.
Farmers’ protest Explained | What are their big concerns, what can the government negotiate
While Dushyant is yet to comment on the ongoing farmer agitation, Digvijay said Tuesday that the JJP was keeping a close watch on the outcome of the meeting between farmers and the Union government. The JJP’s other minister, Anoop Dhanak, Minister of State, Labour & Employment, said: “MSP of crops should be given, which is being given to farmers.”
The party’s Barwala MLA, Jogi Ram Sihag, who has been at the forefront in supporting the farmers, said it was wrong to say that only those from Punjab were protesting. “Haryana farmers are as active… If the agitation continues, the participation of Haryana farmers is likely to be greater than of Punjab farmers,” Sihag said, underlining that farmers “had not allowed politicisation” of the agitation.
The MLA said the legislation would hurt the poor as much as the farmers. “The poor will get food items at higher rates. There is need to amend all the three laws.”
In October, Sihag had refused to accept the post of Haryana Housing Board Chairman on the issue of the new farm laws, saying, “Till the laws are amended and there is guarantee for MSP on crops to farmers, I believe I should not accept any office of profit in the government. I am the son of a farmer first and an MLA later.”
The party’s Narwana MLA, Ram Niwas Surjakhera, and Tohana MLA Devender Singh Babli also supported the farmers. “I find merit in their demand. They are fighting for the right cause. There is full participation of Haryana farmers in the agitation. Even from my constituency, farmers are going to join the agitation. They are facing problems in Narwana mandi. Payments have not been made for their paddy due to the delay in lifting of the produce,” Surjakhera said.
Babli said: “The farmers are fighting for their rights. The Constitution has given them the right to struggle in a peaceful manner. Being the son of a farmer, I request Modiji and Khattarji to fulfill their demands, whichever can be met, by coming forward with a large heart.” While admitting that the issue was “more prominent” in Punjab, he said, “Some farmers from Haryana have also participated, wherever the government could not succeed in convincing them or the farmers could not understand the laws.”
Guhla MLA Ishwar Singh said, “There should have been awareness before introducing the laws. This situation would not have emerged then. A solution will come out of a dialogue.”
While of the remaining JJP MLAs, Naina (legislator from Badhra) is Ajay Chautala’s wife, Ram Karan Kala (Shahabad) had joined a farmer protest in Kurukshetra district on September 20.
Digvijay Chautala said he respects the sentiments of the Independent MLA who withdrew support to the government. “It is a good thing that Sangwan has stood by the farmers,” he said. Asked about BJP leaders’ charge that the farmer agitation was “politics of the Opposition”, Digvijay said, “The head of the BJP has himself said that this is not political but an agitation of farmers.” Amit Shah recently said that he never called it a political protest.
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