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Row Over ‘How To Mislead Farmers’ Query By BJP Workers In Haryana

Haryana BJP was holding a meeting with party workers on the farmers’ protest issue

Gurgaon:

Farmers protesting the agriculture laws “are in no mood” to listen to arguments in support of the controversial acts and “will have to be misled”, Haryana BJP workers told senior leaders Monday.

The appeal was made during a party meeting in Gurgaon that was attended by OP Dhankar, the president of the BJP’s state unit, sports minister Sandeep Singh and Hisar MP Brijendra Singh, and caught on camera, with the clip shared online and flagged by the Congress’ Randeep Surjewala.

“BJP workers are meeting party leaders and ministers, and asking them for “tips to fool farmers”. They are clearly saying that the farmers cannot be swayed by our arguments and must be fooled. This is the real face of the BJP that it doesn’t show to the farmers,” Mr Surjewala tweeted.

In the video, which was shared by Mr Surjewala, a BJP worker can be heard saying: “Farmers are in no mood to hear us… they will have to be misled. So please share some tips with us.”

Farmers across the country have been protesting against the centre’s laws since late-November, when thousands of them drove tractors to Delhi; they have since been joined by tens of thousands more, who have been camped around the borders of the national capital.

The farmers insist they will not back down and want the three contentious laws scrapped, as well as a legal guarantee for MSP (minimum support price).

The centre insists the laws will benefit farmers and that they will not be scrapped. They have also dismissed legal guarantees for MSP, and will offer only a written assurance.

Eleven rounds of talks have been held so far, with the centre unable to persuade the farmers to end protests, even temporarily. The farmers have also refused the centre’s offer of an 18-month stay in implementing the new laws.

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After the last round of talks – held exactly a month ago – Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told farmers “the ball is in your court“.

Farmers have stepped up their protests since, with nationwide displays of support for their movement. Last week they held a four-hour rail roko, which was carried out peacefully and with consideration to those affected by delay in service – across parts of northern India.

Earlier this month, after a chakka jam (road block), farmer leader Rakesh Tikait stressed that the protesting farmers would not back down, would not go home, till their demands were met.

The centre, while refusing to accept the farmers’ two core demands, has criticised the opposition and separatist elements for hijacking the protest, each for their ends.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has led this particular charge, accusing the Congress of misleading farmers for political gain. Last week Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made the same statement.

Also last week Mr Tomar told NDTV that the centre remained open to a “clause by clause” discussion on the three laws, but simultaneously said farmers had to put forward a “legitimate argument”.



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