The discontentment of farmers from Haryana over the central government’s agriculture bills have left the NDA alliance in the state divided with several legislators slowly lending support to the protests at Delhi.
The fear of an imminent rift in the government has goaded Jannayak Janata Party chief and deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala, who so far had spoken in favour of the bill, to offer mediating between the Centre and the farmers. Stating that the farm laws need many amendments, Chautala on Thursday (December 24) urged farmers to reach a solution through talks, urging them to give ‘concrete suggestions’.
Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh, the leader of the BJP ally in Haryana, said, “I believe that many amendments should be there. On this, we have given many suggestions to the Centre earlier and they too had agreed on many suggestions.”
All the other legislators of JJP are also supporting the farmers’ protest. Earlier while Chautala agreed with the farm bills, his party’s MLAs were seen disagreeing with him.
Ram Karan Kala, a JJP MLA from Shahbad in Kurukshetra, told The Federal that he always stood with the farmers and will stand by them till their demands are met.
Not only JJP, but legislators from the state’s BJP too have started coming out in support of farmers. Senior BJP leader Chaudhary Birender Singh who sat on a dharna at Hisar on Thursday in support of the farmers’ demands, told the media, “Being the grandson of Sir Chhotu Ram, who dedicated his life to farm reforms, I can’t sit idle and see farmers sitting on a dharna for their future,” adding that the Centre must meet the demands of the farmers as soon as possible.
Haryana’s agriculture minister JP Dalal also admitted that there are some flaws in the bill. As the prices of cauliflower and potato in Haryana have crashed by three times, Dalal admitted that the new farm bills don’t have any mechanism to control the prices which can dip further. He, however, maintained the BJP’s stand that the new laws will benefit farmers in the long run.
Another senior legislator from BJP Haryana told The Federal, on the condition of anonymity, that they feel helpless now. “The government is adamant on its stance and farmers on theirs. We can’t leave government and we can’t leave farmers as well. Farmers are agitating now and they have intensified their protest. We are really stuck in between. We want farmers and government to talk and come on a solution as soon as possible,” he said.
Haryana-based political analyst Rohtas Nagura said the political situation in Haryana is quite unstable at the current stage. “The leadership including the top BJP, is confused and in fear of what farmers will do next. They are agitating in front of the houses of MLAs. When farmers can dare to stop the chief minister of the state, do you think they can be stopped now?” he said.
“The central government must come up with a solution now, otherwise the situation in Haryana can go out of hands. We might witness something on the lines of a Jat agitation. The senior farmers have been silent till now, but once young farmers take over, the situation will be uncontrollable. The youth of Haryana are already struggling with a lot of problems like unemployment and lack of government support. It might be possible that all their anger will
come out now,” he added.