The Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government in Haryana on Wednesday suffered a setback in municipal elections amid the farmers’ agitation against the agricultural laws, NDTV reported. The BJP-Jannayak Janata Party alliance lost the mayoral elections in Sonipat and Ambala.
The JJP, led by Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, lost the elections in Hisar’s Ukalana municipal committee and Dharuhera in Rewari district. Both the areas are considered to be JJP’s home turf.
The elections were held for six cities in Haryana on Sunday. The counting of votes began on Wednesday morning.
The BJP, however, managed to score a victory in Panchkula, where the party’s candidate Kulbhushan Goyal is set to be the mayor, The Times of India reported.
Abhimanyu, the BJP’s in-charge for the civic body elections, said it was the victory of development. “The Opposition tried to take voter’s interest by promoting farmer’s agitation but results are clear,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
The Congress, meanwhile, won Sonipat with a margin of 13,818 votes. The party’s candidate Nikhil Madaan will take over as the mayor. Congress leader Srivatsa linked the election result to the farmers’ protest. “Remember, Sonipat is right next to Singhu border and is the epicenter of farmer agitation in Haryana and UP,” he tweeted.
The Manohar Lal Khattar-led Haryana government has been severely criticised for authorising the use of water cannons and tear gas on the farmers, when they began their march to Delhi in November. Khattar had also claimed that his government had “inputs” on presence of Khalistani separatists in the ongoing farmers’ agitation.
Chautala, on the other hand, last week promised to resign from his post if he is unable to ensure the minimum support price guarantee for the procurement of farmers’ crops. His party has a huge farmers’ vote base.
Meanwhile, the Centre and the farmers held the sixth round of talks at Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan on Wednesday afternoon to try and break the deadlock over the three laws.
Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at Delhi’s borders in the bitter cold for over a month. The protestors say the laws will dismantle regulated markets, and hurt their livelihoods by making them vulnerable to big corporations. They want the laws to be scrapped.
The Centre has refused to address the demand of repealing the laws. It did, however, offer making amendments to certain sections along with a written guarantee on MSP.