While Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala continues to maintain silence, seven MLAs of his Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), the BJP’s partner in the ruling coalition, have come out in support of the farmers protesting against the central farm laws. The JJP has 10 legislators, including Dushyant, in the 90-member Haryana Assembly.
Dushyant’s mother Naina Chautala, the party MLA From Badhra, too has not spoken on the latest phase of farmers’ agitation, which is now drawing considerable support from Haryana.
The latest JJP legislator to come out in support of the farmers is Narnaund MLA Ram Kumar Gautam who urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the three controversial farm laws.
“The farmer is the country’s ‘annadata’. (His sons) secure the borders of the country. Sons of farmers guard Modi ji and his ministers…Keeping in view the sensitivity of the issue, Modi ji should repeal the three laws. The people from all castes and religions are camping at the Delhi borders. It would be foolishness, if the laws are kept intact against their sentiments.”
Seventy-four-year-old Gautam said the Centre and the Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana have said that the laws will benefit the farmers, but asked why they were being forced upon them. “If the farmers don’t want these laws, why are they being thrust upon them? What is their (Centre) compulsion?”
JJP MLA from Narwana, Ram Niwas Surjakhera, too extended support to the farmers. Stating that he would be attending a khap panchayat at Narwana on Monday, he said, “If needed, I am ready to resign from the assembly too for the farmers”.
His party colleague Amarjeet Dhanda too came out in support of the farmers, saying he backs their agitation. “We hope the government will agree to their demands. I appeal to the Centre that they should listen to what the farmers are demanding and resolve the issue,” Dhanda, who represents Julana constituency, said.
Meanwhile, another JJP MLA and senior leader Ishwar Singh hoped that with the Centre engaged in talks with the farmers, “a solution will be found” at the earliest. “I am a farmer. Why would I be against the farmers? Meetings are being called by the government to resolve the matter,” the Guhla MLA said, adding that he stands with the farmers.
Earlier, two other JJP MLAs — Jogi Ram Sihag (Barwala) and Ram Karan Kala (Shahabad) — had announced their support to the farmers and participated in an agitation in Haryana in September. Sihag had also refused to accept his appointment by the state government as chief of the Haryana Housing Board while standing firm in support of the agitating farmers.
While Dushyant hasn’t spoken on the issue, his father and JJP president Ajay Singh Chautala on Tuesday had urged the Centre to consider including minimum support price (MSP) in the farm laws.
The only other MLA from the party and Minister of State, Anoop Dhanak, had stated that “the MSP, which is being given to farmers, should be given”.