The farmers’ agitation on Thursday got a big morale victory when one of the four members of the committee set up by the Supreme Court of India two days back dissociated himself from the panel. In a statement on Thursday Bhupinder Singh Mann, a former Rajya Sabha MP, said that he did not want to harm the interest of Punjab and farmers.
Incidentally, Mann was the only farmer leader from Punjab who exactly a month back met the Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar to extend his support to the three farm laws enacted in September last year.
He took the decision after coming under intense pressure from the farmers of Punjab. His own Bharatiya Kisan Union removed him from the organisation.
The decision to take back his name came just a day before the likely ninth round of talks between farmers’ unions and the government to be held on January 15.
On the other hand, another farmer leader Rajinder Singh Deepwal said that Mann took this step only after coming under pressure from the farmers. He said that Mann, in his letter, said that he did not want to go against the interest of the farmers in general and of Punjab in particular. Thus, he had conceded that the farm laws are against the interest of the farmers, Deepwal said, adding that they are prepared for talks with the government on January 15. He regretted that Mann took a different line in the beginning because of political reasons.
Meanwhile uncertainty looms large over the fate of January 15 talks and the role of committee set up by the Supreme Court. The Centre has certainly been taken aback by Mann’s move and it is to be seen as who will be included in his place.