Congress monitoring developments in BJP-JJP ties in Haryana over farmers’ agitation

The Congress is keeping a close watch on the developments in the ruling alliance in Haryana, where the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) is under pressure to review its ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in view of the ongoing farmers’ agitation.

A Congress functionary said on the condition of anonymity that his party has adopted a “wait and watch” policy and insisted that the ruling coalition will “collapse on its own” due to the mounting pressure on the JJP to withdraw its support to the BJP over the agitation by farmers demanding an immediate repeal of three farm laws enacted in September.

Farmers have been staging protests at several border points of Delhi since last week.

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The ruling coalition suffered its first setback when independent legislator from Charkhi Dadri Sombir Singh Sangwan withdrew his support to the government, calling it anti-farmer. He also resigned as chairman of the Haryana Livestock Development Board.

Sangwan’s exit has sounded alarm bells in the ruling camp and put pressure on JJP and other supporting legislators to review their ties with the BJP as the agitation is gaining momentum.

In the 90-member Haryana assembly, the BJP has 40 legislators, JJP 10, Congress 31, the Indian National Lok Dal and the Haryana Lokhit Party one each besides seven independents.

The JJP has said its leader Dushyant Chautala will resign as the Haryana deputy chief minister if the minimum support price is discontinued.

Upbeat over its victory in the Baroda by-poll, the Congress has decided to keep a close watch on the developments and not get “actively involved” in bringing down the Manohar Lal Khattar government.

“The best-case scenario for us is mid-term elections rather than having an alliance with JJP,” said a Congress leader from Haryana. “Even if JPP withdraws its support to BJP, there is a possibility of the state being put under President’s rule and the assembly in suspended animation during which anything can happen.”

Former chief minister and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda has reportedly said some JJP legislators are in touch with his party functionaries but insisted that it was for Chautala’s party to decide whether to stand by farmers or stay in power.

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