Breaking his silence on the standoff between the Centre and farmers’ unions, Haryana’s Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala on Thursday said that the Union government has accepted the “farmers’ demand of assuring MSP in writing” and that there is “no logic” to continue with the agitation when “written assurances are being given”. The JJP chief also said that he is a “farmer first” and “will be the first one to resign” if he fails to ensure that a farmer gets “MSP for each and every grain of his crop”.
Meanwhile, a section of JJP MLAs do not seem to be on the same page with Dushyant as discussions have begun within the party on withdrawing support to the BJP in Haryana amid the farm protests. Seven of the 10 JJP MLAs have earlier come out in support of the farmers protesting against the central farm laws.
After hosting a lunch for CM Manohar Lal Khattar and his Cabinet colleagues at his residence in Chandigarh, Dushyant on Thursday told the media that he has spoken to Union ministers who are holding talks with farmers’ representatives and several others who are regularly monitoring the situation.
Dushyant Chautala breaks silence on farmers’ protest. pic.twitter.com/4x5TRZS8jd
“The foremost and biggest demand was to add the fourth thing – MSP. In Haryana, we have assured it. Rajasthan could not assure it and bajra was sold on streets. Punjab could not do it… In Haryana, we made facilities and you all will see that even in future, we shall do the procurement of wheat in an even better manner. As far as MSP is concerned, Dr Ajay Chautala was the first one to say that the Union government should assure it… I hope that when written assurances are being given, there is no logic to take it (this movement) forward,” the Deputy CM said.
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CM Manohar Lal Khattar, who was present during an informal Cabinet meeting at Dushyant’s residence, defended the three contentious farm legislation and said, “We are procuring the crop on MSP in Haryana. In the coming times also, procurement shall be done on MSP.”
After the 2019 Assembly polls, when the BJP fell short of majority by six seats in the 90-member House, it entered into a post-poll alliance with JJP that had 10 MLAs, with Dushyant being appointed as the Deputy CM. Both the parties recently announced that their “alliance is rock-solid” and they shall also contest the upcoming municipal body elections in Haryana jointly.
Meanwhile, Several MLAs told The Indian Express that Dushyant, on December 8, held a discussion with JJP MLAs and took feedback on the “sentiment of farmers, labourers and people of their constituencies and entire state” on the situation since farmers and labourers form the “JJP’s major vote bank”. They said that they have discussed the issue of “withdrawing support to the BJP in Haryana” if the farmers continue to believe that they were being “exploited by the Union government” and the standoff does not end “soon”.
Speaking to The Indian Express, JJP MLA from Tohana, Devender Babli said he held a 90-minute discussion with Dushyant on the farm agitation on December 8. “Our party is primarily of farmers and labourers. JJP has a majority of this vote bank today. This pressure (of withdrawing support) is on every MLA, on us, and on Dushyant-ji too. We held a talk on this only and discussed that this ongoing standoff should be sorted out at the earliest.”
“Today we are working as partners but it is not as if we will remain mute spectators if anyone is exploited tomorrow,” Babli said.
However, JJP MLA from Barwala, Jogi Ram Sihag, said no discussion has been held at the “party level” and he was “not aware” about his party’s stand on the issue. In October, Sihag had refused to accept the post of Housing Board chairman to show his solidarity with farmers. “I don’t know about the party’s stand, but I have mine. These three farm legislation will not only damage farmers, but common man of the entire country too… Unless these three legislation are repealed or suitable amendments made, farmers will not survive. Even the country will not be able to survive,” Sihag said.
JJP MLA from Hathin, Harsh Kumar, said the JJP was “exerting pressure on BJP” to sort out the ongoing standoff. “Party’s stand can only be told by Dushyant-ji or Ajay Chautala-ji…due to this ongoing bandh, the party has also not been able to call a meeting. Discussions are held but we are tied up with party discipline.”
JJP MLA from Narnaund, Ram Kumar Gautam, said, “It is the country’s misfortune… Rajiv Gandhi was a weak Prime Minister… He brought in the shoddy anti-defection law… this law has enslaved.”
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