The government should give a written assurance to farmers that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system will continue, the ruling BJP’s Haryana ally has said amid protests against new farm laws that show no signs of ending soon.
Haryana ruling coalition partner and Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala’s Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) has been making increasingly discordant comments on the protests, given that farmers are a key support base of the party. JJP president Ajay Chautala, Dushyant Chautala’s father, says the government should find a solution to the farmers’ agitation at the earliest.
The farmers are protesting against three laws that they fear will take away the MSP or their guaranteed minimum earnings and leave them open to manipulation by corporates. Though the centre has repeatedly told them that is not the case, the farmers want the reassurance added to the laws.
Ajay Chautala said the even Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had made the assurance. “So what is the harm in adding and writing that line,” the former MP said on Tuesday.
“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,” Mr Chautala said.
Most of Haryana’s crops are procured at MSP, he added.
His comments came on a day an independent MLA, Somvir Sangwan, pulled out of the state’s ruling coalition, citing “atrocities committed on farmers”.
Thousands of farmers have been protesting at the borders of Delhi against the farm laws. 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.
Earlier, Dushyant Chautala had talked about quitting if there was any attempt to discontinue the MSP system and had accused opposition parties of misleading farmers.
Opposition parties in Haryana have attacked the JJP, saying it is desperate to cling to power even though its ally BJP is shortchanging farmers.
“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 said.
Two months ago, a group of farmers from Haryana had protested outside Dushyant Chautala’s home in Sirsa, demanding his resignation.
The 90-member Haryana Assembly has 40 BJP MLAs and 10 JJP members. The Congress has 31.