Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) legislator Abhay Chautala
Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) legislator Abhay Chautala
PTI File Photo

Grandson of former Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) legislator Abhay Chautala on Monday sent a "conditional" resignation letter to the Vidhan Sabha Speaker, offering to resign from the assembly in Haryana if the Centre failed to repeal the new agricultural laws by January 26.

In a letter to Speaker Gian Chand Gupta, Chautala, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MLA from Haryana's Ellenabad, slammed the Centre for imposing the "black laws" on farmers in an "undemocratic way" and said the farming community in the entire country is opposing these legislations.

Conditional resignation

A farmers' agitation against the laws has been going on for over a month and the protesting farmers have been camping at Delhi's borders in the cold weather conditions, he pointed out.

More than 60 farmers have "attained martyrdom" because of the intense cold weather but the Centre has paid no heed to their demands, Chautala wrote in the letter.

Despite holding eight rounds of talks with the farmer leaders, the government has not shown any sign of agreement on the withdrawal of farm laws, he said.

The INLD leader said it does not seem that being a responsible member of the House, he can play any role to protect the rights of farmers under the kind of conditions created by the government.

"Considering all these situations, if the government of India does not withdraw these three 'black laws' by January 26, then this letter should be considered as my resignation," he wrote to the speaker.

Lone INLD legislator

Notably, Chautala the lone INLD legislator in the Vidhan Sabha.

His party's breakaway faction, the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), is the crucial coalition partner in the state BJP government led by Manohar Lal Khattar.

JJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala has been maintaining stoic silence in public over the issue of farmers, who have been staging protests on the border of the national capital, demanding revoking of the agricultural laws, for the past 47 days.

The INLD and the JJP is primarily a rural Jat-centric party with the farmers as its core vote bank. The Jat, a dominant farming community, comprises 28 per cent of state's population.

Twenty-five Jat leaders, comprising four Chautalas, were elected to the state assembly in October 2019.

Coming out openly for the first time with the protesting farmers, JJP national chief and former MP, Ajay Singh Chautala, who is the brother of Abhay, on December 2 said the Centre should give, in writing, an assurance on the minimum support price (MSP) to the protesting farmers that largely comprises from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Mounting pressure on JJP

Political observers believe pressure on the JJP within the party to withdraw its support to the state government has been gaining as the BJP Central leadership has been adopting 'tough posture' on its three new agricultural laws even at the end of eight rounds of talks that remained inconclusive so far.

The farmers have been insisting to scrap the 'black' farm laws in totality, but the Central government is willing to amend a few provisions of laws.

Also, believe political observers, the JJP is facing an 'internal rumblings' as its leaders have been saying if BJP's Punjab ally Akali Dal could reject the lure of office and stand up for its principles to "to save the beleaguered peasantry", then why not the JJP.

Besides the JJP's 10 legislators, seven independent MLAs had also extended support to the BJP, helping it reach a tally of 57 seats in the 90-member Assembly.

(With inputs from agencies)

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