Chief Minister ML Khattar on Thursday asserted that the BJP-JJP alliance in Haryana was strong and there was no problem at all even as some MLAs of the Jannayak Janata Party are openly supporting farmers agitating against the Centre’s new farm laws.
“Our alliance is strong… there is no problem at all… The works we have done during the past one year we will further accelerate development works in the remaining four years of our term,” he told reporters.
Khattar, who held an informal meeting of the state cabinet, was asked that many MLAs of JJP have openly come out in support of the agitating farmers.
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.
Earlier in the day, Deputy Chief Minister and JJP leader Dushyant Chautala, who faces pressure from the opposition and some Haryana farmers to withdraw support from the BJP-led government in the state, reiterated that he will resign if the minimum support price (MSP) system is threatened.
The BJP has 40 MLAs in the 90-member assembly and JJP 10 legislators. The ruling combine also enjoys the support of the majority of seven Independents.
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Replying to a question, Khattar indicated that his government will go soft on hundreds of farmers, who were last month booked by Haryana police for rioting, unlawful assembly, obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions, damage to public property and provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in Panipat, Rohtak, Kaithal, Sirsa and other districts, during their “Delhi Chalo” march.
When asked that JJP has demanded that these cases be taken back, Khattar replied, “This is not a major issue, all things will be considered.” “Farmers are our own, those who are our own, all things are set right,” he said.
With the deadlock continuing between the farmers, seeking repeal of the Centre’s new farm laws, and the central government, Khattar said “many rounds of talks have been held between the two sides. Matter of satisfaction is that the Centre is agreeable to their 5-6 demands”.
“Though some farmers have said they do not agree, many are of the opinion that these (Centre’s proposals) should be accepted,” he said. He asserted that all BJP governments in various states as well as the Centre accord highest priority to the farmers’ interests.
“For our government, the interests of farmers have been and will be above all,” he further said. However, he alleged that the opposition is doing cheap politics in the name of farmers and using their shoulder to grind their own political axe.
Khattar accused the opposition parties of having resorted to double standards on farm laws, saying they have come out against the new laws enacted by the Modi government despite their demands for similar provisions during the UPA regime.
He reiterated that the “issue to amend the APMC Act had cropped up when Sharad Pawar was the Union agriculture minister and many of the UPA allies at that time had supported it.”
“Now they are doing cheap politics in the name of farmers and using them to grind their axe,” he said.
He said the Centre and even the BJP-JJP government in the state have reiterated many times that the mandis will be further strengthened, MSP will continue as before and more steps will be taken so that farmers do not face any difficulty, but opposition continues to oppose due to political reasons.
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.
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