Even as the BJP has launched a campaign across the country defending the three Central farm laws, the party’s lone legislator in Kerala, O Rajagopal, on Thursday backed an Assembly resolution demanding a repeal of the laws.
However, hours later, Rajagopal issued a statement saying he had, in fact, vehemently opposed the resolution and blamed Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan for not seeking a count of those opposing it.
Earlier in the day, Rajagopal spoke in favour of the farm laws in the Assembly, but when it was put for a voice vote by the Speaker, he supported the resolution.
Addressing the media outside the Assembly, the senior BJP leader justified his stand and told reporters, “I have a different opinion on certain points in the resolution. But I have supported the resolution in its totality. I have backed the resolution, which demanded that the farm laws should be withdrawn. That is why I did not vote against the resolution.”
On why he did not object to the resolution, he said, “That is the democratic spirit. I stood with the general consensus… In these types of issues, what we need is compromise. I don’t find anything wrong in a BJP legislator supporting the resolution against the Centre’s farm laws.”
While the party only said it would look into Rajagopal’s statement, with BJP state president K Surendran saying the issue has not come to his notice, by evening, Rajagopal issued another statement blaming the Speaker.
“The Speaker violated all precedents. He did not seek a separate count of those supporting the resolution and those opposing it. I had made my stand clear in my speech on the resolution. I have not objected to the laws and I am not against the central law,” he said.
Rajagopal, who opened the BJP’s account in Kerala in the 2016 elections, has in the past too differed with the party’s stand.
Two weeks ago, after the local body results, when BJP state president Surendran said cross-voting of LDF and UDF had led to the BJP’s defeat in the Thiruvananthapuram municipal corporation, Rajagopal had said, “There is no evidence for cross-voting. We could not win the confidence of voters. The party focused only on the gold smuggling scandal against the government. That failed to work. People seemed to have been concerned only about the benefits they got from the government; not about scandals,’’ he said.
Last December, when the Assembly passed a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act, Rajagopal again did not object to it.