As Kerala Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan announced that the state assembly had unanimously passed a resolution against the BJP-led Centre’s three farm laws, the news was surprising to everyone. Political experts had hoped that BJP MLA would vote against the resolution put forward by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, but Rajagopal refrained from voting and thus didn’t mark his objection.
Addressing media persons, Rajagopal said that he had expressed his difference of opinion regarding certain aspects of the resolution, but he claimed that he accepts it in the democratic spirit. “I had my difference with certain aspects of the resolution, and I expressed it during the session. However, I didn’t vote against the resolution since it is part of the public consensus,” he said. When asked if the three farm bills passed by the Centre should be withdrawn, the MLA said, “I agree. However, I wouldn’t face any problem with the party, as I am expressing my opinion and it is part of the democratic spirit.”
In his assembly speech, the BJP MLA had supported the three bills, adding that the laws would protect farmers. He added that the state’s accusation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi not meeting with farmers is false. “The PM is willing to talk with protesting farmers regarding the three bills, but the farmers refuse to talk without a decision to unconditionally withdraw them,” he said.
At another press conference, BJP state president K Surendran has said that he is unaware of Rajagopal’s claims, and will address it once he meets with the MLA. “I will have to meet with Rajagopal to verify what exactly he said. Until then, I cannot express my opinion on this matter,” he added. Other senior BJP leaders also refused to comment on the matter, as they need to meet with Rajagopal to discuss the matter further. However, everyone reiterated the fact that Rajagopal’s opinion during the assembly speech session was the party stand, and they are unaware of what the MLA said during the press meet.
Surendran also said that there was no difference of opinion within party members regarding the farm bills while talking down the resolution. “Is the assembly a venue to protect your selfish needs? There is a strange occurrence of the ruling side and the opposition standing together. This is especially visible during the panchayat elections when the LDF and UDF had joined forces to gain power. What had happened to the resolution the assembly unanimously passed in 2006 to release Madani?” he asks, adding that the state resolution will not amount to anything in the national landscape.
This is has sparked a widespread controversy as Rajagopal is not only the lone BJP MLA but also one of the most senior political leaders in the state. The latter has helped him during many of the previous issues concerning the state BJP, including Rajagopal voting for LDF’s P Sreeramakrishnan as the Assembly Speaker.