CHANDIGARH: A half of Dushyant Chautala’s 10 MLAs in the Jannayak Janata Party, an ally of the ruling BJP in Haryana, have openly supported the protesting farmers.
On his part, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala on Wednesday said the Centre has accepted the farmers’ demand for assured MSP in writing and now it is up to the farmers to respond to the Centre’s other proposals.
Chautala said he is “quite hopeful” that the farmers protesting over the new agri-marketing laws will understand that when the Centre is giving written assurances, it “a victory for their struggle”.
Hoping that they will arrive at a settlement with the Centre, he said, “When a written assurance is being given, I don’t think the issue now needs to be taken further.”
Chautala said he had been in regular touch with the Centre on the farmers’ issue, adding that his JJP had also given its suggestions.
“I am a farmer first. It is our responsibility to ensure adequate prices for various crops. The Union government has assured the farmers on the Minimum Support Price in writing. It is now up to them to decide. We hope that other demands of the farmers belonging to other states will also be met.’’
“In the previous year as well as for the current season’s procurements, our government has ensured that the entire food grain is procured from farmers and money is transferred into their bank accounts. While Punjab has not been able to achieve the twin objectives, Rajasthan has not even begun it,’’ he said.
Chautala, who faces pressure from the opposition and some Haryana farmers to withdraw from the BJP-led government in the state, reiterated that he will resign if the MSP system is threatened.
“As long as I can assure the MSP to farmers, I am here. The day I am unable to do so, I will be the first to quit,” he said.
Dushyant on Thursday hosted lunch for Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his cabinet colleagues at his residence.
Earlier five legislators of JJP Amarjeet Dhanda (Julana), Jogi Ram Sihag (Barwala), Ishwar Singh (Gullha Cheeka), Ram Kumar Guatam (Narnaund) and Ram Karan Kala from Shahabad supported the farmers’ agitation and stated that the farmers’ demands should be accepted and the three farm laws should be repealed.
Last week Sombir Sangwan, independent MLA from Dadri, withdrew support to the BJP-JJP government and also quit as chairman of the Haryana Livestock Development Board.
The JJP had fought last year’s assembly polls against the BJP and won 10 seats. But when the saffron party fell short of a majority, the JJP offered its support to it and formed a collation government in Haryana.
The deputy CM first said this as opposition over the new laws picked momentum, but has not commented on the issue since the farmer unions began their “Delhi Chalo” protest a fortnight back.
“Chaudhary Devi Lal used to say a government listens to the farmers’ voice when they have a stake in government,” he said, referring to his great grandfather and a former Haryana chief minister.
“And we and our party have been placing the farmers’ concerns before the government,” he said.
As long as the JJP is part of the state government it will ensure that “every single grain” that farmers produce is bought at the MSP.
He recalled JJP president Ajay Singh Chautala’s recent remark that the Centre should give a written assurance on MSP, adding that “it is a matter of happiness that Centre has agreed to do so”.
The opposition Congress has attacked Dushyant Chautala for “clinging” to power and supporting the “anti-farmer” laws enacted by the BJP-led government at the Centre.
Senior JJP legislator Ram Kumar Gautam recently demanded the convening of a special assembly session to bring a resolution urging the Centre to scrap the laws.
Farmer unions, particularly in Punjab and Haryana, say that the new laws will lead to the dismantling of the MSP system under which government agencies buy their crop at an assured price.
In its proposal to farmers on Wednesday, the Centre said it will give a written assurance that the MSP system will remain and also redress their other key concerns.
The unions, however, demand the complete rollback of the central laws and are continuing their agitation.