Bhartiya National Association President Kisan Bhupinder Singh Mann stepped down from a committee appointed by the Supreme Court to examine the centre’s disputed agricultural laws and said he did not want to “jeopardize farmers’ interests ”. His decision came the day before the next round of talks between the government and farmers. The case will now be returned to the court for further orders.
Mr Mann’s statement today read: “As a farmer myself and a trade union leader, given the prevailing emotions and fears between agricultural unions and the general public, I am prepared to sacrifice any position given to me to jeopardize the interests of Punjab and farmers. States. “
Bhupinder Mann, who runs his own BKU faction, was part of a four-member committee set up by the Supreme Court on Tuesday to start a dialogue with farmers and the government and propose a solution to a 50-day protest that continues on the national capital border. Farmer groups, however, rejected the committee, saying their members were already in favor of agricultural legislation, and accused the government of shaping the matter.
Mr. Mann is one of the few farm union leaders who has supported the new farm laws at the Center. He was part of a group of farmers who met with Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar in December.
“Bhupender Mann’s BKU organization fired him, so he resigned. He used his position for political mileage,” said Rajinder Singh Deepsinghwala, a member of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha.
Farmers protesting, he said, see the resignation as a “small victory” as it “discredited a committee set up by the Supreme Court”.
In addition to Mr. Manna, dr. Parmod Kumar Joshi, agricultural economist who is also director for South Asia, International Institute for Food Policy Research; Ashok Gulati, an agricultural economist and former chairman of the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices, and Anil Ghanwat, head of Shetkari Sanghatane, who expressed views in favor of agricultural laws in media articles.
The Man Singh government granted Mr Mann the post of Rajya Sabha in 1990 at a time when farmers ’protests in Punjab were banned. Mann’s decision to accept the offer led to a split in the BKU.
His son, Gurpratap Singh Mann, is a member of the Congress Party and the party government in Punjab has appointed him a member of the Punjab Public Services Commission.