Farmers' protest: Dushyant Chautala hopes deadlock over agri laws will end after Centre's offer

Chautala, who faces pressure to withdraw from the BJP-led government in Haryana, reiterated that he will resign if the minimum support price (MSP) system is threatened

Press Trust of India December 10, 2020 22:31:32 IST
Farmers' protest: Dushyant Chautala hopes deadlock over agri laws will end after Centre's offer

File image of Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala. ANI

Chandigarh: Breaking his silence on the farmers' protest at Delhi's borders, Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala on  Thursday hoped that they will call off their stir now that the Centre has offered to give written assurances on MSP and their other demands.

After the Centre's move, it was now up to the farmers' union to make their decision, the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) leader said.

Chautala said he is quite hopeful that the farmers protesting over the new agri-marketing laws will understand that when the Centre is giving written assurances, it a victory for their struggle.

Hoping that they will arrive at a settlement with the Centre, he said, "When a written assurance is being given, I don't think the issue now needs to be taken further."

Chautala said he had been in regular touch with the Centre on the farmers' issue, adding that his JJP had also given its suggestions. "We are hopeful that this deadlock will end soon," he told reporters here after an informal meeting of the state cabinet at his home, where he hosted a lunch for Chief Minister ML Khattar and his other colleagues.

Chautala, who faces pressure from the opposition and some Haryana farmers to withdraw from the BJP-led government in the state, reiterated that he will resign if the minimum support price (MSP) system is threatened. "As long as I can assure the MSP to farmers, I am here. The day I am unable to do so, I will be the first to quit," he said.

The deputy chief minister first said this as opposition over the new laws picked momentum, but has not commented on the issue since the farmer unions began their Delhi Chalo protest a fortnight back.

"Chaudhary Devi Lal used to say a government listens to the farmers' voice when they have a stake in government, " he said, referring to his great grandfather and a former Haryana chief minister. "And we and our party have been placing the farmers' concerns before the government, he said. As long as the JJP is part of the state government it will ensure that every single grain that farmers produce is bought at the MSP."

He recalled JJP president Ajay Singh Chautala's recent remark that the Centre should give a written assurance on MSP, adding that it is a matter of happiness that Centre has agreed to do so.

When asked about the open support expressed by his own party MLAs for the protesting farmers, he said, "I am a farmer first, when did I deny that?" He said it is our responsibility that farmers get the right price for their produce and we have been assuring that and will continue to do so.

The Opposition Congress has attacked Dushyant Chautala for clinging to power and supporting the anti-farmer laws enacted by the BJP-led government at the Centre.

Senior JJP legislator Ram Kumar Gautam recently demanded the convening of a special Assembly Session to bring a resolution urging the Centre to scrap the laws.

Farmer unions, particularly in Punjab and Haryana, say that the new laws will lead to the dismantling of the MSP system under which government agencies buy their crop at an assured price.

In its proposal to farmers on Wednesday, the Centre said it will give a written assurance that the MSP system will remain and also redress their other key concerns. The unions, however, demand the complete rollback of the central laws and are continuing their agitation.

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