Farmers’ unions must take the change route to find a solution, Haryana Deputy Prime Minister Dushyant Chautala said, calling on protesters who have refused to abandon their calls for a full repeal of the center’s three agricultural laws to make “concrete proposals”. He also offered to become a mediator.
Mr Chautala also attacked opposition parties for “using farmers for political purposes”, reiterating that he would resign on the day he believes he cannot secure a minimum support price (MSP) for farmers in Haryana.
“The congress leaders don’t even know the names of the summer and winter crops. They run politics in the name of helping farmers,” said the president of the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), which supports the BJP-led government in Haryana and their core voting bank are farmers.
“Farmers need to speak to the center, which union leaders have repeatedly invited for discussions. Without dialogue, no solution can be found … I think the laws require a lot of changes. The center is ready to assure MSP in writing (minimum support price) “Accept changes to electricity bills,” he said at a press conference citing the example of Anna Hazare’s month-long anti-corruption movement in 2011.
Mr Chautala’s proposals turned the tables on farmers, who said on Wednesday that they were ready to engage in dialogue but that the government must be “open”. They added that the Center “needs to send a specific proposal in writing, rather than repeating changes that have been rejected”.
On Thursday, Mr Chautala urged the leaders of 40 unions who control the movement to “reflect on the welfare of farmers and initiate a dialogue”.
The statement came after Mr Chautala was boycotted prior to a visit to his constituency where villagers petitioned for his resignation in support of farmers’ demand.
Leave and support the farmers, the villagers said after breaking the helipad built for his visit.
Under pressure on his party to seek support from the state’s ML Khattar government, Mr Chautala’s appeal on Thursday coincides with ally BJP. “There is no pressure on the government,” he said.
Farmer lakhs have been protesting on Delhi’s borders for 28 days, calling for the repeal of three farm laws that they fear will deprive them of MSPs and leave them vulnerable to corporate exploitation.
The center, which has held several rounds of talks with farmers without a breakthrough, said the laws are only opening more markets and that farmers have been misled by opposition parties.
Both the opposition parties and farmers have denied the allegation.
On Thursday, opposition leaders from Congress, the NCP, DMK, PAGD, RJD, SP, CPI (M), CPI, CPI (ML), AIFB and RSP tabled a joint statement in which the Claims of the current dispensation that farmers were being dismissed as “unfounded” were “lied to” and “misled” by opposition parties.
“The call for this historic struggle was made by more than 500 Kisan organizations from across the country under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM). Many of us opposed these laws when they were passed without discussion in parliament.” read joint statement.
(With entries from PTI)