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BJP's Haryana coalition partner seeks written assurance on MSP

PUNJAB NEWSLINE | December 01, 2020 05:04 PM

CHANDIGARH: Coming out openly for the first time with the protesting farmers, the BJP's Haryana coalition partner, the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) on Tuesday said the Centre should give, in writing, an assurance on the minimum support price (MSP).

The party's stand assumes significance as its support is critical for the survival of the just over one-year old government led by Manohar Lal Khattar. The BJP has just 40 members in the 90-member Assembly and needs the JJP's 10 seats for a majority.

"When Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Agriculture Minister are repeatedly saying the MSP will continue, what is the harm in adding that line," JJP chief and former MP, Ajay Singh Chautala, told the media.

"We want that there should be a solution to this at the earliest. We have requested those in government that a solution to the farmers' problems should be found," he added.

Ajay Chautala's son Dushyant is the Deputy Chief Minister in the state.

The BJP has already lost key Punjab ally Akali Dal over new farm laws passed by Parliament in September.

The JJP is prominent among Jats, who comprise 28 per cent of state's population.

Ahead of Ajay Chautala's assertion, his party's legislator Jogiram Sihag turned down the government's offer of a Chairmanship last month, saying he will not accept any office of profit till the farm laws guarantee the MSP.

Ajay Chautala is the elder son of four-time Chief Minister and INLD President Om Prakash Chautala.

The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), which ruled the state the last time from 2000 to 2004 and was once the main opposition party previously, was divided owing to differences between Ajay Chautala and his brother Abhay Chautala. Their father sided with the latter, leading to a split.

Besides the JJP, seven independent MLAs had also extended support to the BJP, helping it reach a tally of 57 seats.

However, Independent legislator Sombir Sangwan on Tuesday withdrew his support to the state government owing to the farmers' agitation.

In a statement, he said atrocities are being unleashed on the farmers who are on an agitation in support of their demands.

"I cannot remain associated with the government in the present circumstances and decided to part ways with the state government," said Sangwan.

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