BJP’s lone Kerala MLA backs resolution against farm laws, then backtracks

Kerala’s lone BJP lawmaker, whose win marked the party’s debut in the state four years ago, on Thursday stirred up a controversy when he backed a resolution against the Centre’s farm laws that was unanimously passed in the state Assembly. Shortly after his speech in the Assembly favouring the laws, O. Rajagopal did not vote against the resolution. The 91-year-old BJP leader has now has released a statement saying he “strongly opposed” it.

Speaking to media after the Assembly session, Rajagopal said he abstained from voting and did not oppose the resolution because people do not need to know these differences in opinions. “I support this resolution. During the discussion, I opposed certain references made in the resolution against the farm laws but I do not object to the general consensus reached by the house against the farm laws,” he said.

When asked if it was against the BJP’s stand, the MLA said, “It may not be the party’s stand. These compromises are part of a democratic system. We must not be adamant. We must go with the consensus.”

With the lone BJP MLA not opposing it, the Kerala Assembly passed the resolution unanimously against the three of the Centre’s contentious farm laws after it was moved by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the special session.

The resolution stated that the genuine concerns of the farmers should be addressed and the Centre should withdraw all the three laws.

While moving the resolution earlier, Vijayan had said, “The urgency of the current situation makes it clear that if this agitation continues, it will seriously affect Kerala. It is a serious problem that these important laws were passed in a hurry without even being sent to the Standing Committee of Parliament for consideration.”

Hours later, Rajagopal made a U-turn in a press statement, making it clear 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 also alleged “violation of rules” in the assembly when the resolution was passed. “The speaker, during voting, did not ask those supporting and those opposing separately. He asked as one question, instead of asking separately. This is (a) violation of rules.”

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