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Farmers’ Protest: BJP’s lone MLA in Kerala O Rajagopal supports Assembly resolution against Centre’s farm laws, backtracks later

The resolution demands the scrapping of the three contentious central farm laws, against which thousands of farmers have been protesting on Delhi borders for more than a month now.

December 31, 2020 / 05:26 PM IST

O Rajagopal, the BJP’s only member in Kerala legislative assembly, did not object to the resolution passed by the House against the three farm laws on December 31.

The resolution demands the scrapping of the three contentious central farm laws, against which thousands of farmers have been protesting on Delhi borders for more than a month now.

The members of the ruling CPI (M)-led LDF and opposition Congress-led UDF supported the resolution.

Surprisingly, Rajagopal, 91, who had earlier raised objections against some references in the resolution, did not object to it eventually. He said he chose to go with the common sentiment in favour of the resolution in the House.

“There was a general consensus in the House. So, I did not object to the resolution. This is the democratic spirit,” Rajagopal told the reporters outside the House.

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Rajagopal, who has been a minister of state for railways in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet, was instrumental in opening BJP's account in Kerala in 2016 when he won the Nemom assembly seat in Thiruvanthapuram by defeating two-term CPI-M legislator V Sivankutty.

The veteran BJP leader began his political career as a national executive council member in the Jana Sangh, now BJP, in 1964-67. He has been a two-time MP from Madhya Pradesh in Rajya Sabha. He also served as the BJP parliamentary party deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha. He has also been the national vice president and state president of BJP in Kerala.

Rajagopal's move has come as a major embarrassment for the BJP in the southern state. K Surendran, the president of the party in Kerala, told Hindustan Times that he will check what Rajagopal said in the House.

Later, Rajagopal made a u-turn and said that he was against the resolution. "I have strongly opposed the resolution against farm laws. I have clearly stated my stand in the assembly during my speech. I have even said that Prime Minister is always ready for talks but the pre-condition by (the) protesters to repeal the laws for talks has delayed the process. That I am against the central government is contrary to the truth," he said in a statement.

For more than a month now, thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh, are camping along Delhi borders seeking repeal of the three agri reform laws. They have threatened to intensify their stir in the coming days if their demands are not fulfilled.

The Centre has projected these farm reform laws as major agriculture reforms aimed at helping farmers and increasing their income, but the protesting unions fear that the new legislations have left them at the mercy of big corporates by weakening the MSP and mandi systems.
Gulam Jeelani

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