NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday slammed Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for his remarks that the state's farmers have not participated in the stir against the new agri laws and warned that if farmers' problems are not resolved, a "bigger movement" will be undertaken.
Khattar on Saturday alleged that some political parties and organisations are "sponsoring" the farmers' protest against the Centre's new farm laws and claimed that Haryana farmers have not participated in the stir.
Dismissing Khattar's claim, Hooda said the farmers of Haryana have been agitating against the three agricultural laws for many months and he has repeatedly urged the government to withdraw these laws or bring in a new law to guarantee minimum support price (MSP) for farmers.
"The chief minister should tell whether he does not consider the agitating farmers as residents of Haryana? If the farmers of Haryana are not part of the movement, then who did the government lathi-charge in Pipli? Who are the people who were detained by the Haryana Police before their Delhi march? Who where are the thousands of farmers against whom the Haryana government has filed cases," Hooda asked at a press conference here.
The former Haryana chief minister said Khattar's remarks had hurt the farmer's pride and sentiments. "Khattar's ignorance towards such a big movement is "shocking and disturbing", Hooda said.
"The government should know that the farmers of Haryana and Punjab have stood shoulder to shoulder in this movement. They are also getting support from farmers of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and other states. Ignoring them is an insult to those who work hard to put food on our tables. As a responsible Opposition, we fully support the demands of the farmers," Hooda said.
The Leader of Opposition in the Haryana Assembly said the entire nation stands with the farmers and will fight till the government concedes to their "genuine and lawful" demands.
"Until the farmers win this battle, we stand firmly with the demands of the farmers. The attitude adopted by the government to crush the movement is completely undemocratic as every citizen and every class has the right to demonstrate peacefully for their just demands in democracy," he said.
"Till now the entire agitation of the farmers has been peaceful. But the Haryana government's role in the entire movement has been negative. The government's job is to keep the roads and highways open, not to close them down. The government's job is to make roads but this government blocked roads and dug roads to stop the farmers," Hooda said.
He urged the central government to not ignore such a "large mass movement" and accept the farmers' demands for guaranteed MSP. "For this, the government must do what needs to be done, whether existing laws have to be amended or new laws have to be made," he said.
"The government has completely lost the trust of the farmers and this is why the farmers do not believe in the assurances given by it and now wants a law that guarantees MSP. Not only this, the government should also withdraw the cases lodged against farmers immediately and release detained farmer leaders," he said.
Hooda also appealed to all residents of Haryana to provide support to the farmers arriving from different areas of Punjab and Haryana on the Delhi border. "The farmers should not have any problem with their food and accommodation," he said.
Hooda said the government should immediately talk to these farmers without waiting for December 3 and find a solution to the problems at the earliest. "The government should not wait anymore and I would like to appeal to my farmer brothers that if the Centre does not listen to their demands, then they should be ready for a bigger movement," he said.
After spending another night in cold, thousands of farmers continued to protest against the Centre's new agri laws on the fourth consecutive day on Sunday staying put at the Singhu and Tikri border points, with farmer leaders deliberating upon their future course of action about proposed talks with the government.
The three farm laws are - The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation); The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance; and Farm Services and The Essential Commodities (Amendment).
Farmers say they are apprehensive that the laws will pave way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporates.
He said no other state government stopped farmers from agitating but the Haryana government used water canons and tear gas against the farmers which had exposed the "anti-farmer" face of the ruling.