Dushyant Meets Modi & Shah: Will This Save Him From Farmers’ Ire?
Protesting farmers didn’t even let Chautala and Khattar’s helicopters land in their own constituencies.
Jannayak Janata Party chief and Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, 13 January, a meeting which assumes significance in the context of the farmers' backlash against the Haryana government over the Centre's farm laws.
Chautala and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and they claim to have discussed the "law and order situation in Haryana".
After the meeting, Chautala told Press Trust of India that "there is no threat to the Haryana government. It will complete its full five-year term".
The BJP is said to have assured Chautala that with the Supreme Court now staying the farm laws and forming a committee, the crisis should be over but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
The main problem Chautala and Khattar are facing isn’t law and order, but a political one.
The duo have faced a massive backlash from farmers protesting against the Centre's farm laws.
Protesting farmers didn't let Khattar's helicopter land in his home district Karnal and Chautala had to face the same situation in his home turf Uchana Kalan in Jind district.
Both leaders had to cancel their respective events due to the protests. Not being able to do something as basic as landing their chopper in their own bastions is a huge political embarrassment for the two leaders and only goes to show how deep the resentment must be in rest of the state. Chautala additionally is facing social boycott from the Khap in Uchana.
The political cost of the farmers' protests was also evident in the manner BJP lost urban civic body polls in Sonepat and Ambala in the last week of December. This is despite the fact that the BJP is strongest in urban centres on the Grand Trunk Road, such as Sonepat and Ambala.
The BJP-JJP alliance also lost in Dharuhera in Rewari district, Sampla in Rohtak and Ulkana in Hisar district.
It is clear that the JJP, which benefited from an anti-BJP Jat consolidation in the 2019 Assembly polls, is paying the price for joining hands with the saffron party and also due to the farm laws that have sparked large-scale protests in Haryana.
The Numbers Game
Chautala's claim that the government will complete its term is important in the context of the Congress' plan to bring a No Confidence Motion in the upcoming Assembly session. The BJP has 40 MLAs and JJP 10 in the 90-member Haryana Assembly.
They have support of some Independents as well. As of now, it is not clear how many JJP MLAs are willing to defect. Some estimates put the number as high as six or seven.
In terms of public postures, Narnaund MLA Ram Kumar Gautam has been the most vociferous in supporting the farmers and opposing his own party's stand. Gautam and Guhla MLA Ishwar Singh didn't attend the meeting held by Chautala at a farm house earlier this week.
The Congress would need a few more JJP MLAs to defect in order to bring down the Khattar-led government.
The most immediate challenge for Khattar and Chautala would be the proposed tractor parade planned by the protesting farmers on 26 January, coinciding with Republic Day celebrations.
While Khattar has said that “no such thing will take place”, any harsh crackdown on protesting farmers could invite political consequences and make matters even more difficult for the JJP.
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