Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday said that he will quit politics if anyone tries to end the Minimum Support Price regime, ANI reported.
Guaranteeing the Minimum Support Price as a legal provision is one of the demands of the farmers protesting against three new agriculture laws. While several Union ministers, and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have reiterated that MSP will not be done away with under the new laws, the Centre has so far conceded to only give a written assurance, while the farmers are demanding it to be included as a clause in the law.
MSP is the rate at which the government buys farm produce, and is based on a calculation of at least one and a half times the cost of production incurred by farmers.
Earlier this month, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister and Janta Jannayak Party leader Dushyant Chautala had also said that he will resign from his post if he fails to ensure MSP for farmers.
Significantly, the BJP-JJP ruling alliance in Haryana suffered a setback on Wednesday, losing the mayoral elections in Sonipat and Ambala. The Congress party pointed out that Sonipat was close to the Singhu border, one of the sites of the ongoing farmers’ agitation.
Farm law protests
Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at key entry points to Delhi for over a month against the laws now, withstanding temperatures dropping to two to three degrees Celsius.
The farmers fear the agricultural reforms will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations.
The government, on the other hand, maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies. The law passed in September are meant to overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and open up the market, the government has claimed.
On Wednesday, the government held its sixth round of talks with farmers’ unions. They reached a consensus on two key concerns – stubble burning penalty and the Electricity Amendment Act. The next meeting is scheduled to take place on January 4 and will focus on Minimum Support Price and the farmers’ demand to repeal the laws.