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Farmer protests: ‘His grandfather, great-grandfather fought for farmers, but Dushyant loves kursi more’

“Pardada toh kisano ka neta tha. Dada bhi kabhi kisano se peeche nahi hata tha. Yeh kisano pe aansoo gas, pani chalva raha hai. Ab na koi vote dalega (great grandfather (Chaudhary Devi Lal) was a farmer leader.

Grandfather (Om Parkash Chautala) also never used to step back from farmer issues. He [Dushyant Chautala] uses teargas shells, water cannons on farmers),” said Dayaram Ullania, a resident of Chautala village, while talking to The Indian Express over the phone. He is vice-president of the cooperative society of a cluster of five villages, including Chautala.

Ullania said, “Farmers sat on dharna outside his house at Sirsa about a month back, and teargas and water cannons were used to disperse them.

He has not come out in support of farmers till now and he is not even giving any statement in support of farmers. We voted for him as we had hopes from him but he entered into a coalition with BJP. We even reconciled with it. But now we have understood ki usko toh kursi hi pyari hai (he loves his post more).”

Ullania is not alone. There are many farmers in this village who are not happy with Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala. In fact, there is palpable anger against him in the farming community. Chautala is a native village of the Chautala family.

Aashutosh Chautala, another farmer and a graduate from St. Stephen’s College, said, “People are angry with Dushyant Chautala because they remember the history of his family. Chaudhary Devi Lal and Om Parkash Chautala were great farmer leaders. They never considered kursi more important. Hence, anger is obvious.”

Ullania said, “We have not put up any board at our village for not allowing him [Dushyant] inside the village, but will surely protest if anyone from Chautala family visits.

They have their houses here, but they hardly come here and stay at Sirsa most of the time or go to their farmhouse at Tejakhera village located nearby.”

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Ullania added, “Had Dushyant quit, we would have considered him a true farmer leader. But even if he breaks alliance with BJP now, it won’t help him. Now he cannot win the hearts of people anymore. He is no longer popular in our village which has 14,000 votes. JJP’s candidate had got only 400 votes from this village in Vidhan Sabha polls. But now we are not going to forgive him.”

Be it weddings or routine gatherings, everywhere people are talking about the JJP’s stand on the Central farm laws rather than the BJP’s role in dealing with the farmers. “People voted for him because they wanted to vote against BJP. But he did coalition with BJP. We reconciled somehow but we had no idea he will have no guts to speak when farmers are agitating over farm laws. It is the biggest farmers’ movement of India so far. Dada-pardada ka naam kharaab kar diya (He has brought disgrace to his grandfather and great grandfather),” a farmer said.

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Locals are also upset that around 150 acres of village land is being acquired for a national highway project from Amritsar to Kundli border in Gujarat but farmers are being given Rs 37 lakh per acre which is much less than the market price. Rakesh Phagoria, another farmer, said, “We had met Dushyant and Digvijay Chautala but they gave no solution to us. Pehle das seat aa gayi thi. Agli bar koi vishvas nahi karega. Kisan ki vote se dhokha kiya hai (Earlier, JJP had got 10 seats. Next time no one will trust them. It is big cheating with the farmer’s vote).”

Free fuel for tractor-trolleys

On Saturday, 50 tractor-trolleys from Rajasthan’s Ganganagar passed through Chautala village while on their way to join the farmers’ protest at Delhi borders. They were welcomed by Chautala residents. Sudhir Godara, a petrol pump owner, filled fuel in all the 50 tractor-trolleys free of cost.

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