Sensing the tone and tenor of its lawmakers, Haryana BJP coalition partner Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) leader Digvijay Chautala on Monday said party leader and Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala has been in constant talks with the Central leadership over the protest of farmers, saying “the party is of the farmers and for the farmers”.
His assertion assumes significance a day after many legislators of the JJP, the crucial post-electoral coalition partner with the BJP-led government in Haryana, extended their support to the farmers against the new farm laws.
“The meeting is expected to resolve the issue (of farmers) on December 9. All 90 MLAs of Haryana are in favor of farmers,” Digvijay, the younger brother of Dushyant Chautala, said in a video tagged with his tweet.
“Dushyant Chautala is constantly holding talks with the Union ministers and he’s advocating for the cause of farmers so that they do not face problems,” he categorically said. At the same time, he said they were born in a farmer’s family.
“We all 10 legislators of our party are born in a farmer’s house. How is possible that we are not concerned about the issues of the farmers. The farmers should be listened to, the government should do whatever changes needed. PM Narendra Modi’s government is a farmer’s government,” he added.
Political observers told IANS that the political ‘wedge’ between the BJP and JJP is widening with the talks between the Centre and the protesting farmers remaining inconclusive despite five rounds of negotiations. The sixth one is slated for December 9.
The JJP legislators who posed a challenge to the just one-year-old alliance government included Ram Kumar Gautam and Amarjeet Dhanda.
They have asked the Centre to withdraw the newly introduced farm laws. They have joined their fellow party legislator Jogiram Sihag who last month turned down the government’s offer to be the Housing Board Chairman till the farm laws guarantee the minimum support price (MSP).
The JJP has also been facing criticism within the party too for not walking out of the alliance on the issue of farmers and ‘clinging to power’.
In an alliance, the JJP had extended support to the BJP, which won 40 seats, six short of the majority mark.
The latest issue of ‘irritant’ in the government led by BJP leader Manohar Lal Khattar is the registration of hundreds of cases against the farmers for violence, breach of barricades, and causing disruption in the discharge of duty by government employees.
Deputy Chief Minister Chautala has been maintaining stoic silence in public over the issue, but his firebrand brother Digvijay is taking the state government to task several times.
Earlier, he has demanded that the cases against farmers must be withdrawn.
The JJP — a defector of the state’s once-prominent regional outfit Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), is primarily a rural Jat-centric party with the farmers as its core vote bank. The Jat, a dominant farming community, comprises 28 percent of the state’s population.