Former Union minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Birender Singh on Monday said he is ready to face any action for supporting the farmers agitating against the Centre’s agricultural reforms.
Singh, who has been touring the state under the banner of Chhotu Ram vichar manch for the last couple of days in support of the farmers, said he wants their issues to be resolved.
“Standing with farmers is not a case of crossing party lines or challenging the leadership. Even when I was a Union minister, I had openly cleared my stand in favour of Jat reservation in 2016. If my party takes action against me for standing with farmers, I will neither tell them to keep me in the fold nor ask them to throw me out of the party. I want the government and farmers’ representatives to come together to break the deadlock. The issue will be solved only after a dialogue,” he said.
On being asked whether he is in touch with the central leadership to end the ongoing deadlock, Birender Singh said he has told the party’s national president JP Nadda, organisational secretary BL Santhosh and Haryana in-charge Vinod Tawde that the farmers of Punjab and Haryana are “different” from farmers of the rest of the country.
“I had a meeting with Tawde today. I told him ye Haryana-Punjab ke kisan hain, inse panga mat lo. Abhi time hai iss masle ko hal krlo (I told Tawde not to mess with the farmers of Haryana and Punjab, there is still time, they should resolve this issue),” he said, adding, “I am in touch with the Central ministers too.”
When asked if he wants the new laws to be repealed, he said he only wants the farmers’ income to increase. “I never held that these laws are good for the farmers. During the Baroda bypoll too, I had said that various stakeholders have been talking about reforms for the last 20 years but I had never spoken in favour of these three laws,” the former Uchana MLA maintained.
He further said that he wanted to join the agitation sooner but the farmers’ leaders weren’t ready to let him do so.
On the possibility of him switching parties, he said there was no question of joining any other party. “I retired from active politics when the party gave my son Brijendra a Parliamentary ticket from Hisar. I will do only farmer politics now; won’t contest on any seat.”
When asked if his MP son would resign to stand with him, he said, “ Do you think he (Brijendra) was happy with these laws when these were tabled in the Parliament? Not at all. He has served as an IAS officer for 21 years. He knows what he has to do as he is also attached to Chhotu Ram’s legacy.”
“After the anti-defection law came into existence, legislators and parliamentarians have had to face many situations where they had to go against their wishes,” he added.
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