Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday accused the Congress of “misleading” farmers by telling them the Centre’s new farm laws will lead to dismantling of the Minimum Support Price( MSP) system, and added that he will quit politics if that were to happen.
On a whirlwind tour of Baroda assembly constituency, where bypolls will be held on November 3 due to the demise of Congress MLA Shri Krishan Hooda in April, the chief minister said MSP will continue and these laws will only give farmers a greater choice in selling their produce.
Addressing a series of public gatherings in different villages, he also touched upon several steps taken by his government for farmers’ welfare.
Khattar said the Congress is “misleading” farmers by telling them that the new laws will “ruin” them, and lead to dismantling of mandis and MSP system.
“These mandis will continue, MSP will continue. These laws give a greater choice to farmers to sell their produce anywhere,” he said.
“MSP is guaranteed in mandis. I announce that if MSP will end, I will quit politics,” he said while addressing a gathering in Kathura village.
Khattar was accompanied by wrestler-turned-politician and Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) candidate from Baroda Yogeshwar Dutt, Haryana Minister and Independent MLA Ranjit Singh Chautala, Jannayak Janta Party(JJP) leader Digvijay Singh Chautala, and a number of state BJP leaders.
Hitting out at the Congress, Khattar said the opposition party had created a hue and cry when Article 370 was scrapped and claimed that it would lead to a bloodbath in the Kashmir valley.
“Has anything happened in Kashmir in the past year?” he asked.
The Congress had also made a lot of noise on the Citizenship Amendment Act, he said.
The Centre has been saying the recently enacted three farm laws will raise farmers’ income, free them from the clutches of the middleman and usher in new technology in farming.
The Opposition and some farmers’ organisations have, however, been agitating against the laws alleging that they will destroy the MSP mechanism, end Agricultural Produce Market Committees(APMC) and allow corporates to arm-twist farmers.
Khattar said only the father-son (former chief minister B S Hooda and his son Deepender Hooda) duo is campaigning for Congress candidate Induraj Narwal in Baroda.
“No other Congress leader is ready to go there,” he claimed.
“Earlier, they used to say Yogeshwar Dutt’s security deposit will be forfeited. But now they have realised that the ground situation is something else and the tide is turning against them,” he said.
Urging people to vote for Dutt, Khattar said, “If you make him victorious, it will be the victory of Baroda. But if the Congress candidate wins, it will be the victory of only a few Congress leaders.” Khattar dubbed Narwal as a “dummy candidate” who is not known to many in his constituency.
On the other hand, he said, Dutt is an internationally acclaimed wrestler.
Khattar also spoke about the steps taken by his government for farmers’ welfare.
He said the state government procures crops like bajra, mustard, sunflower, moong, and groundnut at MSP.
He added that his government has announced a number of developmental projects for Baroda, including setting up of an industrial model township, a rice mill, and two colleges.
Khattar extended an olive branch to Kapoor Singh Narwal, who recently left the BJP to contest the Baroda bypolls as an independent candidate only to withdraw later to support the Congress candidate.
He said the BJP has not closed its doors on Narwal.
“For us, he is still what he was before,” the chief minister said.
Dutt assured people he would work for Baroda’s development, remarking that Dutt will serve his constituents the same way as he had served the country as a sportsperson.