Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Thursday announced that he would quit politics if Centre’s new farm laws led to dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, inviting a sharp reaction from opposition Congress which said if he was serious on his offer to resign then he should visit the mandis.
In Baroda Assembly constituency, where bypolls will be held on November 3, the chief minister, while campaigning for party candidate Yogeshwar Dutt, accused the Congress of “misleading” farmers by telling them that the new laws will “ruin” them, and lead to dismantling of mandis and MSP system.
“These mandis will continue. The MSP will continue. These laws give a greater choice to farmers to sell their produce anywhere. MSP is guaranteed in mandis. I announce that if MSP (system) ends, I will quit politics,” Khattar said while addressing a gathering in Kathura village.
Kathura is the native village of Dr Kapoor Narwal who had quit BJP a few days before the nominations for Baroda bypoll began. Kappor Narwal was senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s first choice but due to opposition, party instead decided to give the ticket to Indu Raj Narwal. Kapoor Narwal later filed his nomination as an Independent candidate but Hooda managed to pacify him. Kappor Narwal withdrew his nomination and subsequently announced his support to the Congress nominee.
Kathura is one of three villages out of 54 in Baroda constituency with largest voter population. It has 6,954 votes. The other two villages with large voter population is Baroda (7,986) and Butana (7,323).
Seeking to woo Kapoor Narwal’s supporters, Khattar said had he not shown haste in seeking ticket from the party, he might have got it.
Extending an olive branch to Kapoor Narwal, Khattar said the BJP has not closed its doors on him. “He was No. 1 in the list, while Yogeshwar Dutt was on No. 2. Kapoor Narwal is still the same for us as he was when he was in BJP,” Khattar said.
He also addressed gatherings at Dhanana, Baroda, Butana and Jhagsi villages.
“For strengthening the state government, I have come here (Baroda) to add another MLA. Four months ago, when I had come here, I had announced that people of Baroda must consider me as their representative in the Vidhan Sabha. In these four months, whatever works were brought to my notice, all such works were completed,” Khattar said addressing a gathering.
Stating that “134-year-old Congress party’s foundation is based on lies”, Khttar said he has always delivered on promises. “BJP launched two colleges in Baroda. An Industrial Model Township will also be set up in Baroda besides opening a HAFED rice mill. Our government has already formulated the development plan for Baroda,” he added.
Khattar also attacked Hooda and Congress’s Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Hooda. “Congress (in Haryana) is barely a father-son party. Only these two are roaming around seeking votes for their candidate. However, BJP and JJP’s all ministers, MLAs and other leaders are meeting people and seeking support for our candidate. The father-son are not worried about their candidate. They are rather worried about their own future,” he said.
Besides Khattar, Power Minister Ranjit Singh, Minister of State Anoop Dhanak, BJP MPs Ramesh Kaushik, Sanjay Bhatia, Sunita Duggal and JJP’s Digvijay Chautala are campaigning across Baroda and seeking votes for Dutt. Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala will be touring Baroda, Friday and Saturday.
Meanwhile, taking a dig at Khattar’s remarks on quitting politics if MSP regime is discontinued, Hooda said, “If he is serious on quitting politics, Khattar should visit mandis and verify if farmers are getting the MSP promised by the government. Farmers have to sell their paddy at a loss of Rs 500 to1000. A paddy – 1509 — used to be sold for Rs 4,000 to 5,000 per quintal during the Congress government but is now being sold for Rs 1,700 to 2000. Similarly, maize farmers are also getting Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 less per quintal. Cotton has a MSP of Rs 5,500 abut any farmer will tell the CM that it is being procured for Rs 4500 to Rs 5000”.
The former chief minister said that “the intention of the present government is completely anti-farmer”. “The government is engaged in suffocating the farmers through its policies. It is deliberately dismantling farmer welfare policies and systems like mandis, MSP, bonuses, subsidies, compensations that were started during our government,” Hooda said.
The senior Congress leader said that Khattar had visited Baroda as a formality and his public meeting had more outsiders than the natives of the constituency.
“A big wave of change will arise in Haryana from Baroda that will go all the way to Chandigarh. The road to power in Chandigarh will pass through Baroda. This time the people of Baroda will give a mandate that will shake the foundation of this state government,” Hooda said.
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