The Congress party’s no-confidence motion in Haryana that will be debated and voted in the Assembly on Wednesday (March 10) is a calculated move to embarrass the ruling BPJ-Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) alliance-led government and to gain political mileage with agitating farmers.
The party says that the trust will make it known who within the government is in support of the farmers and who are not. It hopes that in the event of the JJP, led by Dushyant Chautala, supporting the BJP in the no-confidence motion, their voter base, comprising the Jat farmers, will move over to the Congress.
The no-trust motion moved by Opposition leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and signed by 23 Congress MLAs, was approved by the Speaker, Gian Chand Gupta, on Friday (March 5).
Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar is unperturbed and brushed off any “threat” to his government. He instead turned the tables on the Congress stating that it is “for the Congress to keep its flock together” and that the numbers in the Assembly are tilted in favour of the government.
In the 90-member Haryana Assembly, which has two vacant seats, the BJP holds a hefty 40 seats, and also has the support of 10 JJP MLAs besides five independent legislators, while the Congress has 31 seats. However, the Congress is soldiering ahead with the no-confidence motion to gain political mileage from the state government’s stand on the farm laws passed by the Centre by portraying it as working against the interests of farmers.
Leader of the Opposition Hooda told the media that the government has betrayed public opinion and is taking “anti-people” decisions. “This is why the public no longer has any faith in this government. The coalition government has emerged as the biggest anti-farmer government in the country due to its dictatorial attitude towards the farmers ongoing movement,” he said.
Hooda said that it will be “known” after the trust vote which MLAs are against farmers. If they vote against the motion, it will become clear that they are not in support of farmers but favour an anti-farmer government, he said.
The deputy leader of the Congress Legislature Party, Aftab Ahmed, too, emphasised the point saying that voting on the motion would reveal to the public if the legislators were with the farmers or with the ‘anti-farmer’ BJP-JJP government.
Political analyst Rohtas Nagura told The Federal that the motion is a Congress ploy to “embarrass” the ruling coalition.
But with two seats that were held by the Opposition falling vacant in the 90-member Haryana Vidhan Sabha, the BJP-JJP coalition government is expecting this motion to be easily defeated, he added. “The BJP has the support of 55 MLAs, as against the required 45, If you take into account its own 40 legislators and an additional 10 from its junior partner JJP,” he pointed out.
But, Nagura believed that the Congress is pinning its hopes on the “conscience” of the MLAs, especially the ones from the JJP and independent MLAs. According to him, many of these MLAs have pledged open support to the farmers’ protests demanding the repeal of the three agri-marketing laws and may just vote for the no-confidence motion.
“Also, the Congress knows that if the JJP supports the BJP in the no-confidence motion, their voter base, comprising the Jat farmers, will move over to the Congress,” he said. Jats, who enjoy about 25 per cent strength in Haryana, form the single-largest community in the state and have always been able to capture a substantial share in the power game. Jats have an influence on 45 of the 90 Assembly seats in Haryana, and Hooda is hoping to gain a significant advantage from this anti-BJP-JJP sentiment among the Jats due to the Centre’s handling of the farmers movement.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of 40 farmer unions, too, has also waded into the political drama. “Let Haryana MLAs know that those who do not stand with farmers in this crucial juncture of the agitation will be taught a lesson in the future,” a statement issued by the SKM said.
It has sent an appeal to Haryana residents to approach legislators, especially from the BJP and JJP, of their respective areas and impress upon them to vote against the Manohar Lal Khattar government during the no-confidence motion.
The Congress will “expose” those who claim to be well-wishers of the protesting farmers, Hooda said, adding the Khattar government has betrayed every section of the population, including farmers, labourers, workers, small businesses and the working class.
“The current government has proved to be a failure on all fronts. There are several problems facing the common man, such as the three farm laws, inflation, deteriorating law and order situation and unemployment. Hence, the no-confidence motion,” he said.
In the memorandum attached with the motion, the Congress had said that over 250 farmers have lost their lives so far in the ongoing protest at Delhi’s borders and they included at least 30 farmers from Haryana. It added that the three farm legislations would affect the country’s at least 70 per cent population. It said fake criminal cases were registered against farmers, journalists, labourers and farmer leaders for taking part or supporting the protest against the Centre.