BJP MLA Denies Backing Kerala’s Resolution Against Farm Laws

A one-day special session of the Legislative Assembly was held on 31 December to discuss the Centre’s farm laws.

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan moved a resolution in the Kerala Assembly on Thursday against the Centre’s contentious farm laws. Image used for representational purposes.

“I did not oppose central government,” said Kerala Bharatiya Janata Party MLA O Rajagopal, amid reports of him having backed the Kerala Assembly’s resolution against the Centre’s three contentious farm laws on Thursday, 31 December, following the nationwide stir by the farmers.

Rajagopal, who is the lone member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kerala Assembly, according to ANI, has claimed that he had in fact “strong opposed” the resolution against farm laws on Thursday, in the Kerala Assembly.

“I have strongly opposed the resolution against farm laws today in Kerala Assembly. I did not oppose Central government. I said that the farm laws were very beneficial to farmers. The statements that I am against the central government are baseless.”   
O Rajagopal

He also reportedly alleged that during voting, the Kerala Assembly Speaker did not ask who supports the resolution and who opposes it.

“It was reduced to a single question without being asked separately, which is a violation of the norms,” he claimed.

What Rajagopal Had Said

ANI, however, had quoted Rajagopal as saying that he opposed certain references made in the resolution against farm laws, but he does not object to the general consensus reached by the House.

“During discussion in Kerala Assembly, I opposed certain references made in the resolution against the farm laws. But I do not object to the general consensus reached by the House against the farm laws.”
Rajagopal had also said, as per ANI, that he had abstained from voting

“Similar farm laws were promised by the Congress in their poll manifesto. The CPI(M) also demanded to bring in such laws. Now, both parties are opposing it. Farmers shouldn't be misguided," Rajagopal was quoted by ANI as saying.

'Surprising Move': Kerala BJP Leader on Reports of Rajagopal Backing the Resolution

Reacting to Rajagopal’s decision to back the resolution, Kerala BJP’s KS Radhakrishnan said that he has no idea why Rajagopal did such a thing. He also alleged that this “surprising move” of his was against the will and spirit of BJP.

According to ANI, Radhakrishnan said:

“I don’t understand why a person like Mr Rajagopal adopted such a surprising move against Central Government. I don’t understand it. Everyone knows one member cannot do anything, but he should have expressed dissent. It’s against will & spirit of BJP.”

Congress and all other parties have also backed the resolution.

What Happened at the Assembly?

The Kerala legislative Assembly held a one-day special session on 31 December to discuss the farmer’s agitation against the Centre’s farm laws and its implications for the state’s food security, in course of which CM Pinarayi Vijayan moved a resolution stating concerns of the farmers should be addressed and all three farm laws must be withdrawn by the Centre.

“The central farm laws are anti-farmer and pro-corporate.”
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan 

“The current situation makes it clear that if this agitation continues, it will seriously affect Kerala. There is no doubt that Kerala will starve if the supply of food items from other states stops,” he said.

Meanwhile, MoS MEA V Muraleedharan said “Kerala Assembly is doing a futile exercise because the law has been passed by Parliament. It is like going against the general view of the whole country.”

Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, who had earlier refused the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government’s request, had questioned the urgency to hold the special session as the Legislative Assembly was scheduled to meet from 8 January.

In a letter to Vijayan, the Governor had stated that the government wanted the session to “discuss a problem for which you have no jurisdiction to offer any solution”. This led to a tug of war with the CM, calling the Governor’s response ‘unconstitutional'.

He later gave his nod on 28 December after the government rectified the procedural lapses in convening the session.

Next Meeting With Farmers on 4 Jan

A large number of farmers from Punjab and Haryana are demanding the repeal of the laws, arguing that these would pave the way for dismantling of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and the Mandi system.

The sixth round of talks was held on Wednesday, 30 December, when the government offered to withdraw the Electricity Amendment Bill and the penal provisions for stubble burning under the Air Quality Commission Ordinance – two of the many demands of the protesting farmers.

However, there was no headway on the demands to repeal the three newly enacted farm laws and provide legal guarantee on the MSP.

Talks will resume on 4 January on these outstanding issues. However, farmers, who attended the meet, said the government has indicated that it would not repeal the laws.

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