The BJP's ruling coalition partner in Haryana, the Jannayak Janata Party, on Tuesday suggested that the Centre should give a written assurance to farmers that the minimum support price system will continue. The remark by JJP president Ajay Chautala comes on the day independent MLA Sombir Sangwan withdrew support to the BJP-led government in the state, also expressing support for the farmers against the new farm laws.
The farmer unions say the three agri-marketing laws enacted by the BJP-led government at the Centre in September will lead to the dismantling of the MSP system. While the Centre has said the MSP system will continue, many protesting farmers are seeking an assurance in writing, if not a repeal of the new laws. Some are suggesting an amendment to the laws, adding the assurance.
Chautala said the assurance on the MSP has been repeatedly made by the Centre, including by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. So what is the harm in adding and writing that line, the former MP told reporters in Sirsa, shortly before the talks between farmers and the Centre began in Delhi.
The Centre has invited farmers for talks and we want that there should be a solution to this at the earliest. We have requested those in the government that a solution to the farmers' problems should be found, Ajay Singh Chautala said. Thousands of farmers have been protesting at the borders of the national capital, seeking the withdrawal of the laws meant to deregulate the sale of crops. Most of them are from Punjab, but many are from Haryana.
The farmers are disturbed, they are sitting on the road the government is also concerned, Chautala said, urging an early solution. Responding to a question, he said most of Haryana's crops are procured at the MSP.
Ajay Singh Chautala's son Dushyant Chautala is Haryana's deputy chief minister. Earlier, the JJP has accused the opposition parties of "misleading" farmers on the new central laws, and Dushyant Chautala had even said he will quit his post if there is any attempt to discontinue the MSP.
On Saturday, another JJP leader, Digvijay Singh Chautala had urged the Centre to immediately hold talks with farmers on the new laws. Opposition parties in Haryana have attacked the BJP's ally of ignoring the farmers' problems to stick to power.
Haryana's history will never forget Dushyant Chautala's betrayal of farmers. They sought votes from farmers against the BJP and promised a loan waiver but today the farmer is on the roads, facing water cannons and teargas shells, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala has said. Two months ago, a group of farmers from Haryana had protested outside the Sirsa home of Dushyant Chautala, seeking his resignation from the Manohar Lal Khattar government over the issue.
On September 20, JJP MLAs Jogi Ram Sihag and Ram Karan Kala participated in Haryana farmers' protests against the new laws, going against their party's stand on the issue. Sihag had also refused to accept his appointment by the state government as chief of the Haryana Housing Board.
On Tuesday, Independent MLA from Dadri, Sombir Sangwan, withdrew support to the BJP-JJP government in Haryana. A day earlier, he had resigned as chairman of the state's livestock development board. Instead of sympathising with the farmers' cause, this government used all measures like water cannons and tear gas to stop them from marching to Delhi. I cannot continue my support to such a government, Sangwan said.
The 90-member Haryana Assembly has 40 BJP MLAs and 10 from the ally JJP. The Congress has a strength of 31.