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Haryana

JJP caught in a cleft stick over farm bills

September 24, 2020 06:30 AM

COURTESY HT SEPT 24

JJP caught in a cleft stick over farm bills

Hitender Rao

hrao@hindustantimes.com

Chandigarh : The Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), the coalition partner of the ruling BJP in Haryana has been caught in a cleft stick over the enactment of farm legislations by the Parliament.

The JJP, which considers itself to be the flag bearer of farmers rights and draws its strength from the legacy of farmer leader and former deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, has come under sharp attack for its failure to take an ostensible hard stance over the contentious farm laws. At the same time, the party has in bits and pieces tried to portray itself as an ardent sympathiser of the farming community from which it draws its political strength.

Strategically deflecting demands of resignation by deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala, the party cadre led by his younger brother Digvijay has tried to undo the damage by apologising to the protesting farmers for the lathicharge at Pipli in Kurukshetra.

Belatedly, the deputy CM also said that he will step down if there was any attempt by the Centre to discontinue the minimum support price (MSP). But how credible this sounded to the farmers remains to be seen.

“Who is going to believe Dushyant now,” says former MLA, Jai Prakash reacting to his claims of stepping down.

Commenting on JJP’s strategy, professor Ashutosh Kumar of political science department, Panjab University, Chandigarh, said the JJP seems to be running with hare and hunting with the hounds.

While the present phase of protests in the state seems to be subsiding gradually, thus, easing some pressure on the JJP, the party’s problems are far from over.

During Sunday’s road blockade by farmer organisations, two JJP MLAs—Ram Karan Kala and Jogi Ram Sihag—also joined the protesters lending their support to the cause. While the JJP would not mind its MLAs supporting the stir, the episode does give some inkling to the growing friction in the party. Party MLAs Ram Kumar Gautam and Devender Babli have already been leading the dissenting brigade in the party with their repeated attacks on the JJP leaderships and coalition.

“What kind of a coalition is this where MLAs of an ally come out in public attacking the government? And such MLAs are never held accountable by either of the allies,’’ said a political observer, who did not wish to be named.

Professor Kumar of Panjab University said, “The decision of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal to resign from the Union cabinet has created problems for the JJP. “But being a regional party and with polls being four years away, the JJP will not sever ties with the BJP. The party needs funds and hence need to remain in power. Four year is a long time so they will bide their time to allow this issue to die down,” he said. The professor said though the JJP in one way or another would like to keep the pretense that they are championing the cause of farmers.

 

 
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