Breaking his silence on the farmers’ protest on Delhi’s borders, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala on Thursday hoped that they will call off their stir now that the Centre has offered to give written assurances on MSP and their other demands. 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 minimum support price (MSP) system is threatened. The deputy CM had said this as opposition over the new laws picked momentum, but has not commented on the issue since farmer unions began their Delhi Chalo protest a fortnight back.
The Jannayak Janta Party leader 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 the farmers will arrive at a settlement with the Centre, he told reporters, 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. We are hopeful that this deadlock will end soon, he said
“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.
“Our party’s national president already made it clear that MSP must be ensured to farmers. The written proposals given by the Central government to the protesting farmers include a provision for MSPs. I’ll work to secure MSP for farmers as long as I am in power. I will resign from my post the day I am unable to fulfil the promise,” said Chautala.
As far as the MSP goes, Dr Ajay Singh Chautala had recently said that Centre should give a written assure on it and it is a matter of happiness that Centre has agreed to do so, he said, recalling the remark by his father and his party’s national president. When asked about the open support expressed by his own party MLAs for the protesting farmers, he said, I am a farmer first, when did I deny that? He said it is our responsibility that farmers get the right price for their produce and we have been assuring that and will continue 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 the government buys their crop at an assured price. In its proposal on Wednesday, the Centre said it will give a written assurance that the MSP system will remain and also redress other key concerns expressed by the farmers.
The unions, however, demand the complete rollback of the central laws and are continuing their agitation.