The Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP-JJP government on Wednesday won a trust vote that was moved by the main opposition Congress on the issue of the three central farm laws, less than one-and-a-half-years after the coalition came to power.
While 55 members were opposed to the no-confidence motion, 32 members, comprising all 30 Congress MLAs, supported it.
The no-confidence motion debate was taken up in the Assembly for over six hours. MLAs pondered over the pros and cons of the farm laws, with Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda claiming the ruling dispensation has lost people's trust.
Showing his maturity and grace to convince the opposition that the government was not against the farmers, Leader of the House and Chief Minister Khattar categorically cleared the air saying the farm laws would not be repealed at any cost though if after the laws were enforced and the farmers encountered losses, then his government will do everything in its power to help them.
Khattar said "if the MSP (minimum support price) of crops will come to end (with the execution of laws), both Punjab and Haryana would be the worst losers".
He informed the House that the government was ready to bring amendments in the MSP law.
"The MSP and the 'mandi' system will remain in the state. We have been purchasing 10 crops on the MSP," Khattar said.
An optimistic Chief Minister said: "The kisan morcha yesterday told the media that they have constituted a nine-member committee. I am sure that it will help resuming talks. I agree talks will resume. I will not ask for the laws to be repealed.
"There can be amendments. But I am repeatedly saying that repealing the laws is not going to serve any purpose. If these had to be repealed, it would have happened two months ago. Whatever amendments will happen, it will be either by the government or the Supreme Court."
Issuing an indirect warning to the protesting farmers, he said "no freedom can be absolute".
"People who are agitating feel that they have legitimate right to protest. They think they have freedom to do so. But freedom is not an absolute freedom. Wherever our freedom infringes upon anybody else's, it ends. There's a limit to this freedom.
"Whenever the administration believes it needs to take steps so that the law and order situation does not deteriorate, it acts. We stopped them (protesting farmers) from crossing the borders, but we decided not to use force. Use of force means lathi-charge or opening gunfire. We used water cannons and tear gas but did not lose patience.
"They used huge mechanized vehicles to break the barricades. But our patience should not be taken as our weakness."
"Those protestors aren't so many in numbers that they can scare us. They could be one-two lakh, including their supporters, but we have a family of 2.75 crore. They are all our brothers and sisters."
Quoting loss the state incurred with the ongoing protests, the Chief Minister said the state suffered a loss of Rs 212 crore from November 26, 2020, to February 9.
"The estimated loss till date can be between Rs 1,110 crore and Rs 1,150 crore."
Intervening during the Chief Minister's reply to the no-confidence motion, Hooda stood up and appealed to the farmers not to destroy their crop in protest.
"The crop is like your child," he said. At this, Khattar replied, "Yes".
Time and again Khattar assured the House that "once the three farm laws are implemented and if it is felt that there is any loss to the farmers' interests, the (state) government will do anything and everything to protect them".
"I give a guarantee that the mandis will not be shut and the MSP will continue. Market fee in the mandis is not imposed by way of any Act. It will continue like the way it is going," he said.
Blaming the Opposition for provoking farmers and making them think that if the laws are implemented, they will lose their land and income, he said, "You are forcing the farmers to think this way. Stop doing this."
Earlier in the day, Hooda, while moving the motion, demanded inclusion of 250 farmers killed during the farmers' agitation in the obituary references of the Assembly.
Describing the government a minority, Hooda said in the 2019 Assembly elections the BJP failed to get the majority. The BJP formed the government with the support of the JJP (Jannayak Janta Party), which sought votes against the BJP.
Describing Chief Minister Khattar "Nero", Hooda said, "The Chief Minister is behaving like Nero when Rome was burning. The same thing is happening in Haryana."
"The situation was bad to the extent that Khattar could not go to Panipat to unfurl the Tricolour on Republic Day and instead went to neighbouring Panchkula to escape farmers' wrath," Hooda said.
He demanded secret voting on the no-confidence motion, which was rejected by Speaker Gian Chand Gupta.
Taking a jibe at the Opposition, JJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala said the Congress wanted to come to power through this no-confidence motion.
"The BJP is our natural ally. Did we join hands with the Congress ever? The Congress wants power through no-confidence motion. This alliance will last for full five years," he added.
JJP member Devender Babli, who slammed his party a day earlier in the House for not walking out of the alliance on the issue of farmers and 'clinging to power', again criticized his party.
However, the Speaker informed him that his name was not in the list of those who were allowed to speak on the no-confidence motion.
Babli and his party colleague Ram Kumar Gautam, who had been speaking against the government, voted against the motion.