Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today launched ‘Jai Kisan Abhiyan’ from here over alleged “anti-farmer” approach by the BJP governments in the state and Centre and appealed the MPs to oppose the “anti-peasant” Land Acquisition ordinance, when it comes for discussion in the Parliament.
In the first phase of the protest campaign, a large number of farmers and AAP volunteers took out a procession from Kamla Nehru Park, Gurgaon, to the residence of local BJP MP Rao Inderjit Singh, who is also a Union Minister.
In Gurgaon, the campaign was led by AAP chief spokesperson and Haryana in-charge Yogendra Yadav.
The AAP handed over “packets of salt” at the local MP’s residence in his absence as a reminder to him of his responsibilities towards farmers and the pre-poll promises made by his party, the BJP to the peasants.
AAP also submitted a letter signed by farmers requesting him to take a stand on farmers’ issues in the upcoming budget session of Parliament.
“The central and state governments of Haryana have been insensitive towards issues concerning farmers. A four-fold cheating has been done in a short tenure of ten months at Centre and four months of the BJP government in the state,” Yadav told the gathering.
Slamming the Central government on the Land Acquisition ordinance, he said the Central government passed it “nullifying many pro-farmer rules and making the Land Acquisition Act unjustifiable for farmers”.
“Aam Aadmi Party demands that our MPs oppose the anti-farmer ordinance when it comes for discussion in Parliament,” he said.
On December 29 last year, the Central government recommended promulgation of an Ordinance making significant changes in the Land Acquisition Act including removal of consent clause for acquiring land for five areas of industrial corridors, PPP projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence.
Over urea shortage faced by Haryana farmers, the AAP leader alleged that government created an “artificial and man-made scarcity” of urea “which caused chaos and havoc for farmers extremely dependent on the fertilizer for their farming needs”.
“The urea issue clearly smells of conspiracy to provide undue benefits to vested interests or it may be a clear case of negligence. The AAP demands that a thorough investigation be done in the case so that the farmers know the exact reasons behind it,” he demanded.
AAP also slammed the Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana, for “slashing” the compensation rate by half under the new land acquisition policy.
“The state government has also compounded the already distressed farming community. The government changed the rules in awarding compensation for land acquisition thereby reducing the amount being given to farmers by half,” he claimed.
AAP demanded that government ensure complete compensation to affected farmers and not leave them in the lurch.
Yadav further said that in its poll manifestoes before last year’s polls for Lok Sabha and Haryana Assembly, BJP had promised that the Minimum Support Price would be fixed by giving 50 per cent benefits above the cost of produce.
“Every BJP leader promised this to farmers in every election speech. Unfortunately, giving 50 per cent benefit is a far cry, the government hasn’t even ensured that MSP equals cost of produce and has also failed to even lift some crops.
“We demand that the BJP take its promises seriously and do not take the farmers for granted. We hope that the manifesto document (of BJP) is not reduced to a mere ‘Jumla-document’ (hollow promise),” he said.
Keeping up the attack on the state and Centre over the Swaminathan Commission report, Yadav claimed the Agriculture Minister of Haryana had recently said that it is not in the state government’s purview to implement the recommendations.
“Today, it is astounding to see that the Central government has submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying that price above 50 per cent cost of produce is not possible. The farming community feels cheated,” he said.
The AAP leader said ‘Jai Kisan Abhiyan’, under which protests will be held at Karnal and Sonepat in the next few days, “aims to take the voice of common people to our representatives”.
In Chandigarh, meanwhile, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today hit out at those opposing the Land Acquisition ordinance, saying some “self-proclaimed leaders have been creating misleading propaganda”.
Khattar strongly defended the Ordinance promulgated by the Central Government, saying, “It will not only bring the farmers prosperity and happiness, but also lead to development of the country.”
“I am shocked that some self-proclaimed leaders have been creating misleading propaganda regarding this Ordinance. Similar changes in the Act of 2013 and draft rules notified for inviting objections by the Government of India and now introduced in the Ordinance, had been demanded by the then Bhupinder Singh Hooda Government in Haryana, the then Prithviraj Chavan’s Government in Maharashtra and other Congress ruled states,” he said in a statement.
He said the Haryana Government too, when Bhupinder Singh Hooda was the Chief Minister (March 2005 – October 2014) “demanded amendments through written communications and by sending officers in the meetings of Central Government”.
Khattar asked people “not to allow themselves to be carried away by the false and misleading propaganda unleashed by some vested interests against the Ordinance.”
“We have to take forward the state by rising above partisan politics. I urge all to openly support the provisions made in favour of the farmers in the Ordinance,” he said.