“Being the grandson of Sir Chhotu Ram, who lived his life for farm reforms, I can’t sit idle and see famers sitting on a dharna for their future,” Singh, a former Union rural development minister, told ET. “The APMC (agricultural produce marketing committee) and MSP (minimum support price) was the brainchild of Sir Chhotu Ram and he was the biggest peasant reformer India has ever had.”
On Friday, Singh sat on a dharna under the banner of ‘Sir Chhotu Ram Vichar Manch’ at Sampla, the birthplace of prominent pre-Independence politician Sir Chhotu Ram in Haryana.
The development comes at a time when the BJP-led NDA governments at the Centre and in Haryana are seeking to defend the three farm bills deregulating the sale of crops in the face of growing agitation. Right from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to state leaders, the government and the party are carrying out a large-scale exercise of convincing the farmers about the new laws. Some BJP leaders have also accused the opposition parties of misleading the farmers.
Singh, however, said he was out of electoral politics. “About a year and half back, I had said that if my son gets into politics I will retire from electoral politics. That was my decision way back. Now if I have to do any politics it would be only for farmers,” he said.
His son Brijendra Singh is currently a BJP MP from Hisar. In the 2019 assembly election, his wife Premlata Singh was defeated by JJP leader Dushyant Chautala from Uchana Kalan constituency. Chautala later joined the NDA and became the deputy chief minister of Haryana. According to people aware of the matter, there is little room for Birender Singh in state politics and he is not comfortable dealing with his arch rival Chautala family.
Talking about the farm laws, Singh said, “If the farmers are sitting here, they must be aggrieved with the farm legislations.”
Singh also said there is a lack of trust between the government and the farmers and that the government should try to restore the trust among the farmers. “I think there is a lack of trust and confidence between the farmers and the government. Dialogue is the only way out and effort should be made by the government to restore the trust. Just brush aside the laws for some time and talk to farmers,” he told ET.