O Rajagopal, the BJP’s lone MLA in the Kerala legislative assembly, who on Thursday surprised everyone by supporting a resolution passed by the state government against the Centre’s farm laws, has now backtracked on his stand, saying he “strongly opposed” the resolution.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had moved the resolution at the special session and it was ‘unanimously passed’ by the House with the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP supporting it.
Rajagopal had supported the farm laws in his speech in the Assembly, but had later told reporters that he supports the resolution passed by the state government.
“The resolution was passed unanimously. I have told my views… with regard to some matters (in the resolution), there was a difference of opinion, which I had pointed out in the House,” Rajagopal told mediapersons after the session.
Allaying speculations that he voted inadvertently in favour of the resolution, the BJP leader said he was fully aware that the motion sought to scrap the farm laws.
“I supported the resolution and the central government should withdraw the three farm laws,” the BJP leader said, adding he agreed with the general consensus in the House. That is the democratic spirit, he added.
When pointed that he was going against his party’s stand, Rajagopal said in a democratic system, we need to go on consensus. While speaking during the session, Rajagopal had said the new laws would protect farmers’ interests and middlemen would be redundant. Those opposing the laws were standing against farmers, he said adding the new laws would double the income of farmers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was prepared to meet the agitating farmers, but they had wanted the scrapping of the laws first, he pointed out.
Speaker P. Sreeramakrishanan said the resolution had been passed by the House and no one had objected.
The move of the BJP leader came as a surprise and political circles were abuzz with speculation. Aspersions were soon cast on his advanced age and some went to the extent of saying that the leader did not know what he was doing. But all such rumours and predictions were set to rest when Rajagopal himself told mediapersons that the Centre should scrap the law.
It is also noteworthy that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Rajagopal share a cordial relationship outside politics even though both are fierce advocates of their respective party lines.