Haryana's Abhay Chautala, Only MLA From His Party, Quits Over Farm Laws

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Haryana's Abhay Chautala, Only MLA From His Party, Quits Over Farm Laws

Abhay Chautala had announced he would resign if the laws were not withdrawn earlier.

Chandigarh:

Abhay Singh Chautala, the lone MLA from his party Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), resigned from the Haryana Assembly on Wednesday, two weeks after announcing that he would quit if the centre did not withdraw its controversial agriculture laws by Republic Day.

The 57-year-old is a three-time MLA from the Ellenabad seat and is from a party that counts farmers among as a key vote base. He drove to the state assembly complex in Chandigarh in a green tractor to submit his resignation.

Like most parties from the agrarian northern belt, he had been under pressure to demonstrate his allegiance to the farmers protesting the laws.

Earlier this month, in a letter to the speaker he had criticised the centre for imposing "black laws" in an "undemocratic way" and indicated that his conscience would not allow him to remain silent any longer.

"If the Government of India does not withdraw these three 'black laws' by January 26 then this letter should be considered as my resignation," Mr Chautala wrote to Speaker Gian Chand Gupta.

He pointed out that the centre was refusing to agree to the farmers' demand despite more than 60 deaths - many of which were suicides - reported so far. He also said that as a "responsible" member of the assembly, he was willing to play any role in the protests.

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Last month his father and party chief Om Prakash Chautala, a former Haryana Chief Minister, too had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to scrap the laws.

Om Prakash Chautala's grandson is Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, whose Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) helped the BJP to power after October elections. Dushyant Chautala too had said last month that he too would quit if unable to secure farmers a guarantee for MSP, which is one of their two core demands.

Tens of thousands of farmers across India have been on protest against these laws on the outskirts of Delhi since November that peaked on Republic Day with a showdown with the police in several parts of the capital including the historic Red Fort after their tractor rally strayed from agreed routes.

Multiple rounds of talks have failed to yield a breakthrough, with the farmers insisting on legal guarantees for MSP and the scrapping of the laws. The centre has said the laws will remain, but has offered to form a committee to study other grievances - an offer the farmers have rejected.

The centre says these laws will help farmers eliminate middlemen and sell at markets and prices of their choice. The farmers fear it will rob them of MSP (minimum support price) and, by dismantling government-controlled mandis, or wholesale markers, leave them at the mercy of the corporates.

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