Saturday, June 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Nain doesn’t trust Chautala
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
The current BKU-Haryana Government stalemate is defying a solution as there seems to be a crisis of confidence. The BKU supremo, Mr Ghasi Ram Nain, has reportedly told certain mediators that he does not trust the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala.

According to informed sources, when an INLD leader holding a post of the rank of Minister recently contacted Mr Nain and pleaded with him to relent “for my sake”, the BKU reportedly told him that he (the INLD leader) was a good man and enjoyed his respect. But at the same time, Mr Nain told the mediator that since he knew Mr Chautala well, he did not trust him. “Main Chautala nuin janu, Chautala mujhe jane. Usne hamain pehle bhi dhokhe diye hain, aage bhi dhokha de ga. (I know Chautala and he knows me well. He has betrayed us in the past and he will betray us in the future also).”

This was enough to put off the mediator.

The BKU also does not trust the MP son of the Chief Minister, Mr Ajay Singh Chautala, who is also the president of the youth wing of the INLD. It was Ajay who had signed an agreement with the BKU when it had blocked the road near Kandela in Jind district. One of the terms of the agreement was that all cases registered against the farmers since 1992 in connection with the recovery of the electricity dues would be withdrawn. Another important term was that a meeting would be held between BKU and government representatives on March 1 last. Neither was the meeting held nor were the cases withdrawn.

As the secretary of the Haryana Congress, Mr Sat Pal Kaushik, says it is strange that while on the one hand Ajay is being projected as the political inheritor of Mr Chautala, on the other hand, for reasons best known to it, the government has willy-nilly eroded his credibility among the farmers.

The current agitation of the BKU started with the demand for the implementation of the Kandela agreement signed with it by Mr Ajay Chautala.

It is not for the first time that a farmers’ body has accused Ajay of not being able to press the government to honour an agreement signed by him.

Col Pratap Singh Malhan, president of the Haryana Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, says residents of 66 villages falling under the Kanwari mahapanchayat had launched an agitation to demand continuous supply of canal water for 15 days in a month in November, 1999. The agitation was withdrawn in January, 2000, following, he says, a verbal understanding with Mr Ajay Chautala, in whose parliamentary constituency of Bhiwani, the area falls.

However, Colonel Malhan says that on February 25, 2000, nearly 200 farmers were arrested. They were released on March 4. The agitation was relaunched and the samiti planned a rally in Bhiwani on May 31, 2000. He claims that the rally was cancelled following an understanding with Ajay. But after the rally was cancelled, the ruling party denied that any agreement was reached with the samiti.

Colonel Malhan says a Kisan Muawza Samiti has been formed to collect Re 1 from each family of farmers to give compensation to the families of those who were killed in Kandela.

Sources in the INLD, however, refute the allegation that the Kandela agreement signed by Ajay was violated by the Government. They say it was BKU supporters who started telling the farmers not to clear their electricity dues even before a meeting was held with them on March 1 as stipulated in the agreement. Under the circumstances, no useful purpose could have been served by holding a meeting with the BKU.

Referring to the “unreasonable” attitude of certain BKU leaders, the sources say, there could not have been a more liberal scheme to clear the power dues than the one launched last month by the government. Under the scheme, 75 per cent of the arrears would have been waived if a defaulter agreed to pay 25 per cent of the arrears in one go. He had the facility to pay just Rs 100 per month if he wanted to pay 50 per cent of the arrears. The sources say Rs 100 a month would not have even covered the interest on the amount due.

The sources say now when a large number of BKU activists have been bailed out(in which the government played a pro-active role), not coming even to the negotiation table is the height of unreasonableness on the part of the BKU leadership. Such an attitude, they say, will not be beneficial to anyone, except the political opponents of the INLD. “Does the BKU, which claims to be a non-political organisation, want to play the Congress game?”, an INLD leader said.


Cong padayatra on June 11
Our Correspondent

Jind, June 7
Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, President, Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, has announced that the party would start a padayatra from Jind to Delhi on June 11 to press its demands for the dismissal of Chautala government and CBI inquiry into the violent incidents at Kandela village on December 21 last year, and recent firing incidents at Nagura and Gulkani villages during the ongoing agitation of the farmers.

He said a memorandum would be given to the President on the conclusion of the padayatra. He said a delegation of the HPCC would also meet the Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani. The HPCC had not received any response from the Governor of Haryana on the memorandum submitted by it recently, Mr Hooda said this to mediapersons here today.

Meanwhile, the dharna by Congress activists here in support of the agitation of farmers entered fifth day on Friday. Congress leaders and workers from Faridabad and Ambala districts participated in the dharna.

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