Uproar in Haryana Assembly over farmers' issues

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The Haryana Assembly on Friday witnessed pandemonium over loan waiver and other issues pertaining to farmers, with sharp exchanges taking place between state minister Krishan Kumar Bedi and Leader of Opposition Abhay Singh Chautala.

The first half of the day-long winter session of the Assembly was lost to noisy scenes.

Chautala raised the farmers' issue, saying many states had waived loans of the peasants and sought to know whether ruling BJP in the state would do the same.

"There is hardly any farmer who is not under debt. Moreover, under this regime, the farmers have not even got adequate price for their produce," Chautala claimed.

Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu hit out at Chautala, asking him to remember the time when "farmers used to face bullets" for seeking their rights.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ram Bilas Sharma then started detailing various welfare measures taken by the Khattar government for benefit of farmers, but was interrupted by INLD MLAs.

Congress Legislature Party leader Kiran Choudhary also kept interjecting on farmers' issue.

As the ruckus continued, Agriculture Minister O P Dhankar said that Congress governments in states such as Punjab and Madhya Pradesh had "deceived the farmers in the name of loan waiver".

"Our government is pro-farmer, we will not let farmers be deceived in this manner by them. They made tall promise on loan waiver and said all types of loans will be waived, but in fact they have deceived the farmers," Dhankar said. Hitting out at the Congress, he demanded that the party chief Rahul Gandhi apologise to the peasants of the country.

Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda sought assurance from the chief minister whether farmers' loans will be waived or not. As the ruckus continued, the Congress members staged a brief walkout.

Before walking out, Kiran Choudhary and former Speaker Kuldeep Sharma raised slogans in the House asking the Khattar government to waive farmers' loans.

Independent MLA Jai Prakash told the ruling BJP benches that on one hand their government talks about doubling farmers' income while on the other it was not waiving the farm loans.

As the pandemonium prevailed, the Speaker told INLD members that they had given Calling Attention Notice pertaining to sugarcane farmers and they should resume their seats to allow discussion over the issue.

Abhay Chautala again raised the issues of loan waiver for the farmers and small traders, the SYL canal, Dadupur Nalvi canal and Mewat feeder canal issues. Emphasizing the importance of these issues, he asked the government to clear its stand.

Khattar told Chautala that precious time of the House was being wasted because his party members were not relenting to allow issues to be taken up.

As the ruckus continued, the Speaker asked Capt Abhimanyu to take up other business, which angered INLD members who again started raising slogans against the government and entered the Well of the House.

Minister Ram Bilas Sharma tried to persuade the opposition members to resume their seats and as Chautala was allowed to take up his Calling Attention Notice, he was interrupted by a BJP member following which heated arguments ensued.

Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Bedi also jumped into the verbal duel and was accused by the INLD benches of making some personal remark against Chautala.

INLD MLA Kehar Singh Rawat targeted Bedi as verbal duel between the two sides escalated, the main opposition members led by Chautala walked up aggressively to the minister's seat.

Bedi was surrounded by his party MLAs as Chautala and his party members exchanged heated duel with him. As the situation almost came to blows, Speaker summoned the House Marshals.

However, INLD MLAs continued to raise slogans and the House started taking up some bills. The INLD members staged a walkout and the Speaker adjourned the House for lunch break.

Earlier, Chautala accused the chief minister and the government of treating the Speaker "like a department of the government" and issuing instructions as to how the House should be run. 

He urged the Speaker to assert and ensure that his instructions are followed so that the dignity of the House is maintained.

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