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Bhupinder Singh Mann, the Bharti Kisan Union national president and All India Kisan Coordination Committee chairman, had recused himself from the four-member committee constituted by the Supreme Court two days ago to resolve the standoff between agitating farmers and the Centre on the three farm laws

“I am recusing myself from the committee and I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab,” Mann said in a statement tweeted by the BKU.

He was one of the four members and the only farmer leader to be appointed by the apex court to resolve the nearly two-month-long farmers’ agitation on Delhi’s borders.

The first president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) in Punjab and former Rajya Sabha member Mann is among the four members of the committee the Supreme Court constituted.

Earlier the BKU tweeted, “Bhupinder Singh Mann, ex-MP and national president of BKU and chairman of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee has recused himself from the four-member committee constituted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.”

It was followed by a statement attributed to Mann that read: “I am thankful to the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India for nominating me in the four-member committee to start dialogue with kisan unions on the three laws brought in by the central government. 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.”

The other members of the court-appointed committee are economists Ashok Gulati, Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi and farmer leader Anil Ghanwat. The committee has been asked by the Supreme Court to submit its report in two months.

Mann’s son Gurpartap Singh Mann, a Punjab Public Service Commission member, confirmed that his father had written the letter but declined further comment.

The farmers have been protesting at borders of Delhi against the farm legislation enacted by Parliament in September last year. So far, eight rounds of talks have taken place between the government and farmers but have failed to resolve the deadlock

A graduate from Baring Union College, Batala, Mann took part in farmers’ struggle in 1984 when the activists heraoed Punjab Raj Bhawan for a week. “Then our demands were including electricity cost incurred on growing wheat and paddy while calculating the minimum support price (MSP) on the two crops. Subsequently, a committee headed by agriculture economist SS Johl was set up to submit a report,” said Mann. The report’s recommendations, however, were never implemented. 

Mann said he hoped to initiate fruitful talks with the farmer outfits after getting a formal communication. 

As chairman of all India Kisan Coordination Committee, Mann in a communication to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September had raised apprehensions over the MSP regime being done away with. 

About the author:
Maninderjit Singh Sidhu

Maninderjit Singh Sidhu The writer, Maninderjit Singh Sidhu, is a master of systems engineering from San Jose State University, California. He worked in USA for ten year and is now back in Punjab and doing agriculture.

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