The chairman of BJP’s 8-member panel incharge of talking to farmers in Punjab on Friday said that farmers had the right to protest in Delhi.
“When Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev could organise large rallies in Ramlila Maidan to put forth their point of view, then why can’t farmers do the same,” said Surjit Kumar Jayani, who was Cabinet minister in SAD-BJP regime.
While talking with The Indian Express, he said, “Yeh prajatantra hai.. isme sab ko bolne ka haq hai.(This is democracy, everyone has the right to speak).”
Jayani also condemned barricading and use of teargas, water cannons by Haryana government. He said, “This is not the correct way to deal with people in a democratic country. They are farmers and they want to be heard over farm bills which have been framed by Delhi. So, they should be allowed to go. Whatever has been done with farmers to stop them was not justified and they should have been straight away allowed to go to Delhi to put forward their point of view.”
He added,” I spoke to Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar that cops should try to be friendly with farmers rather than acting tough on them. They are the anndata of our country, they are producing food for all of us. Centre made farm bills and hence, they have to make them heard at Centre. So, in a democracy, they should move ahead. I am happy that now farmers are moving ahead and cops are helping them and even cops themselves are clearing all barricades.”
Jayani said that he felt upset over digging up of roads, placing mud heaps on roads.
“Home Minister Amit Shah also spoke to me twice and I gave him my feedback that farmers should not be stopped and should be allowed to move ahead…The farmer community is very simple and if they are suppressed, they get reactive. I am also a farmer and hence I can understand their temperament,” he added.
The BJP leader said: “I have given my suggestion to Amit Shahji that a high-powerd committee should be formed in which representatives of farmer unions, ministers from Centre, agriculture experts should be added and that committee should review the bills in a time bound manner. If farmers are so upset with them, why can’t we make a committee to relook into them and farmers’ leaders themselves will also be part of that committee. Now farmers have to meet the Union Agriculture Minister on December 3 and I am hopeful that something positive will come out of that meeting….I am thankful that farmers are now reaching Delhi and a place is being earmarked for them to organise their rally.”