Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar-led government has survived a no-confidence motion moved by the Congress in the state Assembly against it, on Wednesday, March 10. As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) government faced the no-confidence motion, 88 members were present for the voting in the 90 seat Haryana Assembly.
They were BJP’s 40, JJP’s 10, Congress’ 30, Haryana Lokhit Party’s (HHP) 1 and 7 Independent MLAs. The two missing MLAs are: Abhay Chautala of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) who had resigned and Congress’ Pradeep Chaudhry, who had been disqualified after a conviction, reported The Print.
After impassioned speeches by many members, including the men in the eye of the storm, Manohar Lal Khattar and JJP’s Dushyant Chautala, the government got 55 votes in its support and against the no-confidence motion. The no-confidence motion was supported by 32 members. According to a report by the Indian Express, all Congress MLAs supported the no-confidence motion, adding that JJP MLAs Ram Kumar Gautam and Devender Babli, who had been speaking against the government asking their party to withdraw support from BJP, also voted against the no-confidence motion. Gopal Kanda, of the HLP also supported the BJP-JJP alliance, and voted against the motion. The government sailed through as it only needed 45 votes to stay in power. The JJP had issued a whip to its MLAs to remain present in the House and “support the stand of the government against the no-confidence motion”.
Haryana Legislative Assembly Speaker Gian Chand Gupta, had accepted the motion by the Opposition Congress on March 5, and had allowed two hours for discussion. While it was almost certain that the BJP-JJP government will sail through the motion, the fact that it did take place will have a long term impact on the state politics. As the Farmers Protest continues on the Delhi borders, the participation is on the rise from Haryana. That is most visible on the Tikri border, where the farmers have pitched camp for over 15 kilometres into Haryana. The farmers are now re-calibrating their protest sites to brace for the long summer months and continue to state that they will not go back home till the three farm Laws are repealed.
On Wednesday, Khattar said that the government had acted patiently when dealing with protesting farmers. The CM said, “Freedom is not an absolute freedom… when the administration believes it needs to take steps so that the law and order situation does not deteriorate, it does so. We stopped them (protesting farmers) from crossing the borders, but we decided not to use force. Use of force means lathi charge or opening gunfire. We used water cannons and tear gas but did not lose patience. They used huge mechanised vehicles to break the barricades. But our patience should not be taken as our weakness.”
According to Khattar, there are not enough protestors, “They could be 1-2 lakh including their supporters, but we have a family of 2.75 crore. They are all our brothers and sisters.” He blamed the Opposition of “provoking farmers and making them think that if the laws are implemented, they will lose their land and income. You are forcing the farmers to think this way. Stop injecting them with these thoughts.”
Khattar also said that once the “three farm laws are implemented” the government will do everything to protect farmers’ interests. He said: “I give a guarantee that mandis will not be shut down and MSP will also continue. Market fee in mandis is not imposed by way of any Act. It is a mere circular/ notification that is issued. It will continue like the way it is going.”
However, the farmers have already rejected that “assurance” when given by others as well. The farmers want a repeal of the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance & Farm Services Act, the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act and demand legal provisions for Minimum Support Price (MSP).
On March 6, 2021, farmers organisation Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) appealed to Hayana citizens to ask their MLAs to pass the no-confidence motion against what they termed what an “anti-farmer” state government. “Let the MLAs of Haryana know that those who do not stand with farmers in this crucial juncture of the farmers’ movement will be taught a lesson by people in future,” the SKM had stated.
On March 5, the Congress had moved the motion against Manohar Lal Khattar-led government on the first day of the Budget session. Senior Congress leader and leader of the Opposition in Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda after moving the no-confidence motion, had said, “The no-confidence motion will let people know which MLA stands with the government and which MLA stands with farmers.” After the no-confidence motion was defeated he said: the government survived in the House, but fell in the eyes of the public. He added that history will record the war the farmers have been betrayed.
आज सरकार सदन में तो बच गयी, पर जनता की नजरों में गिर गयी, और इस कदर गिर गयी की वापिस कभी नहीं उठ पाएगी।
कुछ कुर्सी पसंद विधायकों का विश्वास तो हासिल कर लिया, पर जनता का विश्वास हार गयी, और ऐसा हारी की दोबारा कभी नहीं जीत सकेगी।
किसानों का साथ हुआ धोखा आज इतिहास में दर्ज हो गया।
— Deepender S Hooda (@DeependerSHooda) March 10, 2021
As expected Dushyant Chaulata was jubilant at the outcome and hailed the “farmer friendly BJP-JJP Government”
जननायक ताऊ देवीलाल के विचार जिंदाबाद,
किसान हितैषी बीजेपी-जेजेपी सरकार जिंदाबाद। pic.twitter.com/iznkgnqm82
— Dushyant Chautala (@Dchautala) March 10, 2021
Farmer leaders had sent letters to Haryana farmers asking them to encourage Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) members as well to pass the motion. Earlier, Chief Minister Khattar said the government was considering introducing a law that compels protesters to pay for public property damages during any protest. Farmer leaders were further incensed when State Agriculture Minister JP Dalal said martyred farmers would have died even if they had stayed at home.
Over 250 farmers have lost their lives so far in the ongoing protest at Delhi’s borders. These included at least 30 farmers from Haryana.