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Opinion

‘He will file a motion of no confidence against the government for failing farmers,’ says Bhupinder Singh Hooda

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Former Haryana Chief Minister and Congressional Leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda spoke to Hindustan Timeson the ongoing agricultural unrest and his demand to present a motion of no confidence against the state government in the assembly. Edited excerpts:

What do you think will be the impact of these farmer protests?

Before this, only the markets of the Agricultural Products Market Committee (APMC) existed. Now there are two: the APMC market committee shipyards and the open market. The government may insist that it will continue to provide minimum support prices (MSP), but outside of APMC, there is no MSP. This is the main concern of farmers. In August 2007, my government enacted rules under the APMC Law that no one could buy less than MSP prices. For crops that are outside the MSP, it could be at the current market rate. This is the main concern of farmers.

Farmers want to repeal the laws. The government does not want to do that. How do you think the problem will be solved?

The government should agree. It is a real demand and apprehension that they (farmers) can be exploited by companies. When the crops come in, the fees will be cheap as there may be hoarding.
There is no limit to hoarding now, even for commodities. If they are free to accumulate, prices will rise in accordance with supply and demand. I think a fourth law is needed that states that anyone who buys less than MSP must be punished by law.

The government says farmers are being misled and protests are only in their state and Punjab.

That is not true. Even in other states, farmers are protesting because they are concerned about the MSP. They come to protest from Rajasthan, from western UP, and no political parties participate. Farmers are leading the protests, but we support their demand.

What do you think the consequences of this will be on Haryana? Do you think the BJP-JJP government is in trouble?

That is why Congress asks the Governor to call an urgent assembly. We will present a motion of censure against this government, as this government has failed to handle this situation. They don’t even support the people who come to Delhi. They have no right to prevent them from coming to the capital of the country. During this crown period, that they use water cannons or tear gas against farmers, that is not correct. One of Haryana’s ministers said that the protests are financed with foreign funds. This is an insult to the farmers and the country.

Are there people in the Jannayak Janata Party who are very unhappy with what is happening?

That is why we are planning to bring a vote of no confidence. We want to expose their double standard: on the one hand, supporting the government and, on the other, they are issuing statements for farmers. The two independent MLAs have already withdrawn government support, thus the government has lost the confidence of the assembly.

Has there been any contact, any discussion between you and Dushyant Chautala or someone from the Chautala family?

No. There are other MLAs who are also upset and talk but don’t talk to Mr. Chautala. When this government was formed in Haryana, I said ‘vote kisi ko, support kisi ko (that means to vote for someone, support someone else)’. That has come true now.

He achieved a victory in the Baroda constituency constituency at a time when his party fared poorly in Gujarat, MP, and of course Bihar. Is there something you are doing differently?

It was a kind of referendum against the state government. That is why I say that the government has lost credibility.

Last question. You are one of the 23 signatories of a letter to the President of Congress. Have your concerns been addressed?

I do not speak of internal party affairs in public or in the press.

Hindustan Times

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