BJP, Congress MLAs clash in Haryana Assembly over farmers' issue

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Chandigarh, Mar 16 (PTI) The BJP and Congress had sharp exchanges in the Haryana Assembly on Tuesday during a discussion on the state budget when the main opposition party targeted the government on the farmers' issue.

During Zero Hour in the House, BJP MLA Aseem Goel got up and showed a photo claiming that some Congress workers were among the farmers who protested outside his Ambala residence last week.

As soon as he made the claim, former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda asked him not to make wild allegations.

Later, when the House took up discussion on budget estimates for 2021-22 presented in the Assembly by Chief Minister M L Khattar on Friday, Congress' newly elected MLA from Baroda segment, Indu Raj Narwal said the government keeps saying they have done so much for farmers' welfare, but it has not said a word as nearly 300 peasants have died during the ongoing agitation.

He demanded martyrs' status be given to farmers who died and Rs 50 lakh compensation along with a job to the next of kin.

Intervening while Narwal was speaking, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kanwar Pal sought Hooda's comment on whether the call for boycott of political leaders of the ruling dispensation was justified.

Notably, the Haryana Assembly had on Monday passed a resolution condemning any attempt to boycott political leaders, a move which follows protests against the ruling coalition leaders in several villages over the Centre's farm laws.

“I want to ask Hooda why is he silent on this,” asked Pal.

Hooda replied by saying that he has been saying that maintaining law and order is the duty of the administration.

“But they are trying to thrust their own failures on others,” said Hooda attacking the government, but Pal replied, “You (the opposition) cannot escape from your responsibility”.

CM Khattar had on Monday accused the Congress of instigating farmers and supporting those boycotting BJP-JJP leaders.

Hitting out at the government, Hooda said, “I have not seen such an insensitive government in my entire life when so many farmers laid down their lives but they have not said a word.” Senior Congress leader Kiran Choudhary said, “In a democracy, boycott is manifestation of people's will against a political dispensation. When they are dissatisfied, they will boycott”.

Participating in the budget discussion, BJP MLA Abhe Singh Yadav, spoke about how Haryana's economy had been adversely hit due to the farmers' stir.

Abhe Yadav then made a remark in the context of the farmers' stir which triggered a sharp reaction from Congress benches.

The ruckus prevailed for a while when Deputy Speaker Ranbir Gangwa, who was in the Chair at the time, pointed out that while Yadav's remark was general in nature the opposition should not raise objection.

Meanwhile, Narwal while participating in the discussion on the budget, also said that before November 2020 bypolls in Baroda (in Sonipat), the government had made several promises for the constituency including setting up an industrial model township and a rice mill that should be fulfilled.

Independent MLA Randhir Singh Gollen, who is supporting the Khattar government, touched upon the steps taken by the government to ensure equitable distribution of water in the state.

On the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, Gollen said there should be no politics and urged the opposition to join hands to ensure Haryana gets its rightful share.

At this point, Congress' Kiran Choudhary intervened and accused the ruling dispensation of doing politics on the SYL issue.

Hooda said the apex court has already ruled in the state's favour and added that with “whatever steps the government takes to ensure Haryana gets its rightful share, we will extend full support to them.” JJP MLA Devender Babli said the budget has kept the interest of various sections in mind. He also said that farmers should be encouraged for diversification of crops with land holdings shrinking.

Congress' Aftab Ahmed expressed concern over mounting debt saying it was projected to touch Rs 2.30 lakh crore next year and asked “if Haryana was getting into a debt trap.” Independent MLA Balraj Kundu said he does not see any vision for agriculture and farmers in the budget.

Congress MLA Subhash Gangoli claimed the Centre's farm laws will eventually turn farmers into labourers. PTI SUN VSD HDA