Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday promised to quit politics if he couldn’t secure the minimum support price guarantee to farmers. The BJP leader, who has been facing protests from farmers of the state over their demand to repeal the three contentious agriculture laws enacted by the centre, made the remark a day after the ruling alliance lost the elections to three of the five municipal corporations in Haryana.
“We are committed to the continuation of the MSP (Minimum Support Price) in Haryana. Manohar Lal will quit politics if anyone tries to end the MSP regime,” he was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.
Mr Khattar’s deputy, JJP’s Dushyant Chautala had made a similar remark earlier this month. “…I will work to secure MSP for farmers as long as I am in power. I will resign from my post the day I am unable to fulfil the promise,” he had said.
Two of those three defeats were in Hisar’s Ukalana and Rewari’s Dharuhera – both of which are seen as strongholds of Mr Chautala’s JJP.
The BJP and its ally Janta Jannayak Party (JJP) also lost mayoral races in Sonipat and Ambala on Wednesday.
Reacting to the defeat, BJP MLA from Ambala, Aseem Goel, hinted that the ongoing farmers’ protests at Delhi borders against the laws may have impacted the poll results.
“When the government does good work, everyone joins hands to stop the government from accomplishing goals. This is what’s happening in Haryana. Their agenda is meaningless, they have no real goals. All they want is to stop the BJP. They will work out their differences later, but first let’s tackle the BJP, this is what they think,” he said.
Farmers fear that the laws make them susceptible to exploitation from big corporate houses, which will edge out the traditional crop markets. The centre says the laws are not aimed at ending the existing system but providing better avenues to farmers to sell their crops.
The centre and the protesting farmers on Wednesday held the sixth round of talks to break the deadlock. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar later said the meeting “concluded on a very good note” and there was an agreement on two of the four demands made by the farmers.