Why Ajay Chautala’s MSP comment could be a sign of trouble for BJP in Haryana

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Updated: Dec 02, 2020 10:12 PM

While Dushayant Chautala is yet to make any statement on the protests, the pressure to articulate his stand on the matter would be mounting each day.

In the assembly polls held in 2019, the BJP fell short of majority and had to ally with the JJP which has 10 MLAs in the 90-member House.

 

The BJP could have a lot at stake in Haryana if it fails to resolve the ongoing farmers’ agitation quickly. BJP’s ally in the state, the JJP, whose core base is farmers, has supported the peasants in their fight against the Centre. And if the Centre fails to pacify agitating farmers, it is likely that the JJP, like the Akali Dal in Punjab, would like to be seen on the side of farmers. And if that happens, then the BJP in no way looks in position to save its government in Haryana.

Signs of which way the wind is blowing came yesterday when JJP chief Ajay Chautala backed farmers over their demand of written assurance of minimum support price (MSP) in the farm laws at the heart of ongoing agitation in Punjab and Haryana. Chautala said that when top leadership has already assured that MSP would continue then there should not be any problem in giving it in writing.

But the problem is that the Centre cannot make MSP part of the act, the key demand of farmers. Many agri economists have advised against any such move. They say the country is seeing excessive production of wheat and rice and that it was not possible for the government to procure all the produce at MSP. Making it part of law would be disastrous considering the financial burden on the government, they believe.

Despite this, the JJP chief wants the Centre to give farmers a written assurance of MSP. Now, if the Centre doesn’t give in to the farmers’ demand on this one, it might feel the heat in Haryana. The JJP would not like to be seen on the side of the Centre when farmers from its own state are emphatically backing the agitation. Just the other day, all Khaps extended their support to the protests happening in Punjab and Haryana. Independent MLA Sombir Sangwan went to the extent of withdrawing his support to the government of ML Khattar.

While Dushayant Chautala is yet to make any statement on the protests, the pressure to articulate his stand on the matter would be mounting each day. His move will decide the fate of the Khattar government in Haryana. In the assembly polls held in 2019, the BJP fell short of majority and had to ally with the JJP which has 10 MLAs in the 90-member House. The saffron party has 40 whereas the Congress, the second largest party, has 31 MLAs. There are seven independent MLAs and 1 from INLD and 1 from Haryana Lokhit Party.

If the JJP quits the government, then Congress with the support of independents can return to power, and speculation to this effect has already started in Haryana.

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