A Delhi-based lawyer and BJP supporters were among a delegation of about 20 farmers who had gone to meet Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar in New Delhi in support of three farm laws on Monday.
Many of them run farmers producer organizations (FPOs) with members ranging from less than 100 to few hundreds. In a memorandum to Tomar, they had supported three laws but with amendments as suggested by the farmer unions for continuance of MSP and mandi system. One among those who had signed the memorandum is Pushpender Chauhan.
Chauhan told The Indian Express that he is a practicing lawyer in Delhi courts and has lived in the national capital since 1985.
“I am basically from Bagpat district of Uttar Pradesh where I have around 3.5 acres of land. I don’t belong to any organisation but I had participated in an agitation related to Indian languages in 1985. We have given conditional support to the new farm laws like the mandi system should continue and there should be equality in the fee structure inside and outside the mandis,” says Chauhan.
Kanwal Singh Chauhan, who led the delegation, is from Aterna village of Sonipat district. He was conferred the Padmi Shri in 2019 for his contribution in the field of agriculture. Chauhan says his Progressive Farmer Club, Sonipat has 50 members. A law graduate, Chauhan had contested Assembly election from Rai constituency as Janta Dal candidate in 1996 when he had secured 3,100 votes. He fought the parliamentary election as NCP candidate from Sonipat in 1999 and secured 1,948 votes.
One among the delegation members, Vinod Gulia, is a resident of Bhadsa village which falls in Haryana BJP president Om Prakash Dhankar’s Badli constituency. Gulia says his FPO, Jevik Aahar Farmer Producer Company, has 550 shareholders. His firm is engaged in providing various services to the farmers including different machines, seeds and fertilisers.
“If Modi is saying then we have to trust him,” says Gulia while referring to the promise of MSP. However, he suggested there should be special courts to hear the grievances of the farmers keeping in view the introduction of the new laws. Sources say Gulia is actively associated with the ruling BJP.
A law graduate, Deepak Rajain from Dhaur village of Jhajjar distric,t admits he is associated with BJP and is a follower of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since long. According to Rajain, his FPO Dhaur Kisan Sangthan has 74 members. “I practiced as a lawyer in Jhajjar court for some time. But now, I can’t spare time from my law practice. I have four acres of land but I do agriculture in eight acres of land of my uncles too who are in government jobs. I am in favour of these laws as arhtiyas used to buy my produce at low prices. As a progressive farmer, I always look to avail benefit from the government schemes including meant for subsidy to the farmers,” says Rajain.
A Bahadurgarh resident Satpal Singh is director of an FPO, Nuna Majra Farmer Producer Company, which has 94 members.
“I am in favour of an open market but the system of MSP should stay. If somebody purchases crops of farmers below MSP, then he should be punished. There should be reservation in government jobs for the sons of farmers on the basis of economic criteria,” says Singh, who has about ten acres of land near Bahadurgarh.
A farmer, Atma Ram from Khabra Kalan village of Fatehabad district, could not attend the meeting with Tomar even as he is one among those who signed the memorandum. Atma Ram says their FPO has around 200 members.
“The agitator farmers’ demands are genuine. They have been sitting on the protest for the past several days. If they are satisfied with the amendments in the laws, then it’s fine. Otherwise, the government should find out ways to resolve the issue but their demands are genuine,” he said.
Rampal Yadav, a resident of Dharuhera (Rewari), is happy with the procurement of bajra crop at the rate of 2,150 per quintal. “We don’t have any organisation. I am just a farmer. The MSP should continue,” he added. Narnaul resident Gian Singh added, “We support the laws but it has some flaws too. Like there should be a limit on the hoardings. The government did not win the trust of the farmers before introducing the laws. However, the farmers should also wait for two years to see results of the new laws.”
Gian claims their FPO, Nakai Seed Producer Company is a six-crore project which has 800 farmer shareholders.
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