Former MP and national president of Bharat Kisan Union, Bhupinder Singh Mann, 81, who is also the chairman of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee, recused himself from the four-member committee constituted by the Supreme Court to take over negotiations with the farmers and “solve the problem.”
The development has come even as the farmers are scheduled to meet the government for the 9th round of talks on Friday. However, with the Supreme Court order staying the implementation of the three contentious farm laws and setting up of a four-member committee to mediate between the two sides, the Friday’s meeting remains uncertain.
In a statement to the press, Mann, who heads his own faction of the BKU, wrote that while he was thankful to the apex court for nominating him to the committee, he was recusing himself
“As a farmer myself and a Union leader, in view of the prevailing sentiments and apprehensions among the farm unions and the public in general, I am ready to sacrifice any position offered or given to me so as to not compromise the interests of Punjab and farmers of the country, I am recusing myself from the committee and I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab,” he said.
A resident of Batala district of Punjab, Mann was an independent member of the Rajya Sabha from 1990 to 1996. He had supported Congress in the 2012, 2017 Vidhan Sabha polls and in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Punjab, and is in support of the Centre’s farm laws. His son is a member of the Punjab Public Service Commission since 2018, and was also a member of the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board for a short period of time during the Amarinder government.
An official of the agriculture ministry declined to comment on Mann’s move, saying this was a Supreme Court-monitored process.