JJP MLA turns down post of housing board chief: ‘Will not accept any office of profit till farm laws guarantee MSP’

Jogi Ram Sihag and 13 others were appointed chairpersons of different bodies including board and corporations by the BJP-JJP alliance government of Haryana.

In a sign that all is not well in the BJP-JJP alliance amid the ongoing farmers’ agitation, a JJP MLA, Jogi Ram Sihag, on Friday refused to accept the post of Haryana Housing Board chairperson while professing his support to the stir against farm laws.

“I believe these laws are not good for farmers, labourers and arhtiyas (commission agents) at mandis. With these laws the mandis will be finished and the farmers will stand defeated. The common man won’t get the food grains when they will need the same. Till a guarantee of the assured minimum support price (MSP) is ensured for the farmers and arrangements are made for delivery of food grains at fair prices to consumers in these laws, I won’t accept any office of profit in the government,” declared Sihag on Friday.

Sihag and 13 others were appointed chairpersons of different bodies including board and corporations by the BJP-JJP alliance government of Haryana.

“I am thankful for the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister for the responsibility given to me by showing faith in me. But I am not in support of the recent farm laws. With politeness, I am returning this post today,” said Sihag in a press conference held at his residence in Hisar.

“Till the laws are not amended and there is no guarantee for MSP to the farmers, I believe, I should not accept any office of profit in the government. I am the son of a farmer first and an MLA later,” he added.

When asked regarding resignation from the post of MLA, Sihag said, “This is not a government post. The voters of Barwala have elected me for the same. If there are any weaknesses in me and the people of my constituency want that I should resign, I have no hesitation in that too.”

Among 14 chairpersons announced recently, as many as five are from the JJP while one is an Independent legislator. The remaining are from the BJP.

Asked if others from JJP-BJP will follow his example, Sihag said, “In which capacity I can ask them? This is their decision. Being a farmer and farmer’s son, I have taken my decision.”

When asked would he join the farmers on roads in their struggle, the legislator said, “If needed, I will stand by them to save the farmers and agriculture.”

About farmers’ apprehensions, he replied, “Being a farmer, I myself is fearful (from these laws). I know, if these laws are implemented in the current form, the farmers will be destroyed.”

He also dismissed the suggestion that he would have accepted a Cabinet post instead of chairmanship of a board.

“Today, my status is that first I am a farmer. I am neither in a position to accept any government post nor will I accept,” he said, clarifying: “I am neither against the government nor I spoke against it. I am in the favour of this government. I have honour in this government. The developmental works in my constituency are being done. I don’t have any complaint with this government, neither from the Chief Minister nor from the Deputy Chief Minister. I respect both of them. They too respect me. I am completely with this government. But I am against these farm laws. I am not with the government on this issue.”

While pointing out holes in the provisions for procurement of crops, Sihag said, “I would like to give you an example. As per the new farm laws, the farmers can sell their produce anywhere. Four-five day back, I went to a mandi. There was a difference of three percent in moisture content in paddy when it was evaluated by different machines. I noticed this. When we can’t control these things even in a mandi, how can these irregularities be checked, if the farmers sell their produce at different places.”

“The crops are not being purchased at the rate of MSP currently. In front of my eyes, a farmer was standing with 160 quintal paddy produced in his four acres, but only 115 quintal produce was being purchased at the rate of MSP. Where he will take the rest of 45 quintal? If his produce is not being purchased even in a mandi, then what is the benefit of this law which says a farmer can sell his produce anywhere. The cap imposed on purchase of paddy at the rate of MSP should be removed. Entire paddy production of the farmers should be purchased.”

“If even one benefit of new farm laws appears, then we will support the same. I had a word with Dushyant ji too. I had told him too that how the MSP will be given to the farmers, if it is not being given even in the mandis. Who will give us MSP outside the mandi? I have discussed this issue with the Chief Minister too,” added the JJP MLA.

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