Cautioning the agitating farmers against crossing the line, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that they should not remain adamant on repeal of the new central farm laws, adding that making it a precondition for talks with the government does not serve any purpose.
“We have always exercised restraint as they (protesters) are our own people… we do not want confrontation. When they say some things, we tolerate it as they are our own people. But exceeding it beyond limit is not in anyone's interest,” he said.
Khattar also claimed that only a "handful of people" were opposing the farm laws and that "common farmers are happy".
“Those spearheading the agitation are in reality not farmers. Real farmers have no objection with the farm laws, they are happy,” he said.
Noting that Punjab is trying to reap political mileage as the state going to polls next year, Khattar at a press conference said, “Their Punjab team is doing so because polls are approaching there. But there are no polls due in our state. Here the agenda is to defame the government using political angle. And the Congress is also supporting them in this.”
Khattar said the word “kisan” (farmer) is a sacred one, but some incidents like the alleged sexual exploitation of a woman from West Bengal at the Tikri border last month have "prompted people to raise questions".
On Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar's appeal to the protesting farmers to end their agitation and his invitation for talks, Khattar said.
"The farmer unions are adamant on only one thing -- repeal of the farm laws -- without being able to pinpoint at any shortcomings of the laws."
“It does not serve any purpose if they remain adamant on just one thing and making it a precondition for talks with the government,” he said.“What I feel is that Kisan word is a very pious word. Everyone, including common people, government and I would say even those leading this agitation have faith and respect towards farmers. But the sad part which has come out of this agitation is that some incidents have happened prompting people to raise questions," he said in an apparent reference to the sexual exploitation incident at Tikri border.
Meanwhile, farmers protesting at the Ghazipur border in Delhi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers on Wednesday engaged in scuffle.
With PTI inputs