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Why Dushyant Chautala will stick with BJP rather than appease Jat farmers, his core vote bank 

Haryana Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala has been under pressure to resign from within his party as well as protesting farmers. 

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Chandigarh: Haryana Deputy Chief Minister and head of the Jannayak Janata Party Dushyant Chautala has made up his mind to stick with the BJP government in the state, showing no intention to resign in the wake of the ongoing farmers’ agitation.

Close aides of the deputy chief minister have told ThePrint that Chautala has chosen to stay in the government and cultivate his electorate rather than appease his party’s core vote bank, the Jat farmer, who according to their calculations, will be divided between the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress.

Chautala has not budged from his resolve to stay on, despite pressure from within his party and a sustained demand from the protesting farmers for his resignation. 

His JJP, with 10 seats, and seven Independents have helped the BJP, which has 40 seats, to cross the half-way mark in the 90-member assembly. The Congress has 31 seats. 

In the wake of the farmers’ agitation, two of the Independent MLAs have withdrawn support to the government. At least six of the JJP MLAs have also publicly backed the protesting farmers.

The agitating farmers have been demanding Chautala’s resignation ever since protests over the three farms laws began in neighbouring Punjab in September last year. 

Over the past few months, the farmers have upped the ante against the JJP with several Jat khap and mahapanchayats passing resolutions against Chautala and his party.  

Despite this, sources close to the deputy chief minister told ThePrint that Chautala had decided to continue to be in the government so that he could get various development works done that would benefit his electorate rather than leave the government and have no power to get anything done. 

“Take, for instance, the JJP’s key poll promise. It was to ensure 75 per cent reservation for the youth of Haryana in various private jobs. The governor has finally approved the bill only this week after it was passed in the assembly in its last session,” said a close aide.

“For us this is a very big achievement. It would not have been possible had he resigned from the government and sat in the opposition.”

The party has also done its own calculations on the agrarian Jat vote. “The Jat farmer has been a traditional voter of Devi Lal’s INLD. However when a prominent Jat leader like Bhupinder Singh Hooda commanded the Congress, the Jat vote got divided,” added the close aide.

“Now, following the division in the INLD (that has led to the creation of the JJP), this vote bank got divided further. If we lose the Jat agrarian vote because of the farmers’ agitation, we will lose only a fraction of our total vote bank.”

In the 2019 assembly election, the JJP, contesting for the first time, secured 14.8 per cent of the total vote share.

“Of the 14 per cent, the Jat agrarian vote that came to us constituted a little more than 20 per cent,” the aide said. “Now in order to appease those 20 per cent voters we will be unfair to the almost 80 per cent of the people who voted for us.”

In November last year, during the Baroda constituency bypoll in the state, a large chunk of the JJP vote share of the assembly election had shifted to the Congress. 


Also read: Why Haryana’s plan to move farmers away from paddy is floundering


Pressure unlikely to subside

The party’s calculations, however, are not likely to reduce any pressure on the JJP from within or outside. 

Jogi Ram Sihag, the JJP MLA from Hisar’s Barwala who has been openly siding with the farmers, Friday refused to accept the post of the chairman of the housing board offered to him by the government. “I will not accept any post in the government until the farmers’ agitation issue is resolved,” he told the media. 

Talking to ThePrint Wednesday, Sihag said that he continues to be a strong supporter of the farmers’ agitation. “I am not responsible for the decisions taken by the party regarding supporting the farmers or not,” he said. “I am individually supporting them and will continue to do so.”

Chautala was in Faridabad Tuesday to chair the government’s grievances committee meeting and also meet representatives of the Faridabad industry associations.

He evaded questions from the media with regard to the demands for his resignation. 

“We are with the farmers and have given our inputs to the Central government suggesting changes (in the farm Acts). The government has also admitted that no Act is final in its shape and amendments can be brought in them,” he said, making it clear that his party is more than satisfied with the efforts made by the Central government in ending the impasse with the farmers.

Congress MLA from Faridabad Neeraj Sharma alleged that he had been put on house arrest the entire duration when Chautala was in the city. 

“We had only planned to show him black flags in protest against his attitude towards the farmers’ agitation,” Sharma told ThePrint. “If he is so confident about what he is doing, why is he scared of the opposition? Why does he need to get opposition leaders under house arrest?” 


Also read: ‘China hand’, SYL protest, death remark — how Haryana agri minister loves to target farmers


 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Dushyant yu git any work for state .but you are an enemy of farmers. So apka future tou khatam.i dont think yu will or your party will be able to survive.

  2. Harsimrat kaur Badal resigned from a plum central cabinet post to appease Jatt Sikhs in Punjab. But SAD got a big zero in local elections in Punjab. Both ways SAD lost. Dushyant Chautala doesn’t want to repeat the same mistake.

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