SIRSA: Those opposing the unveiling of former deputy prime minister Devi Lal's statue cannot be farmers, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala asserted on Monday and said his great grandfather was a "messiah" for the agriculture community.
The Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) leader's remarks came after a group of farmers staged a protest when he was in the city for unveiling an 18-feet tall statue of Devi Lal at the Chaudhary Devi Lal University.
"If they oppose this, it shows they are not farmers. Chaudhary Devi Lal was a messiah of farmers," Chautala, whose party is part of the coalition government with the BJP in Haryana, told reporters after the event.
He said that Devi Lal was an institution in himself, whose entire political life was devoted to the welfare of people, particularly the farming community.
When Chautala was in the city, a group of farmers held a protest against his visit.
Farmers, opposing the Centre's three farm laws enacted last year, have been protesting at public functions of BJP-JJP leaders in the state.
While police managed to keep the protesters away from the event site which was inside the varsity, a handful of them managed to enter.
But they were stopped before they could reach the place where the statue, built using 300 tonnes of metal, was being unveiled.
Chautala reiterated that the farmers' agitation is not now in the hands of farmers.
"But it is now in the hands of those who have got a type of employment of holding protests. ]And employment of that type, where every morning they hold black flags in their hands to protest. But they do not know what they are opposing," he said.
Last week, while speaking to reporters in Chandigarh, Chautala had said the ongoing farmer agitation is not any more about the demands of the peasantry, but how to oppose the government and the ruling BJP-JJP alliance in Haryana.
Chautala had also said those associated with the stir were harbouring political ambitions.
A month ago, Chautala had said the intent of the 40 farmer leaders -- spearheading the stir against Centre's three new farm laws -- is not to resolve the issue, but to serve their own interests.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of various farmers' unions, is spearheading the protest against the laws.
In Sirsa, he reiterated that the farmers' demands were mandis should run smoothly, and these are running very efficiently.
Their demand was that crops should be procured on minimum support price and this is also being done, Chautala said.
He also said the Haryana government has taken several steps and launched many schemes for the welfare of the farming community.
Farmers have been camping at Delhi's borders since November last year demanding that the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 be rolled back and a new law made to guarantee minimum support price for crops.