5-member Opposition delegation to satisfy President on farm payments on Wednesday

New Delhi, December 8

A delegation of Opposition parties will meet President Ram Nath Kovind on December 9 over concerns on the three new agriculture laws enacted by the Centre in September and to seek their repeal, senior leaders said Tuesday.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that the five-member delegation — Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, a representative of the DMK, CPI general secretary D Raja and he — will meet the President tomorrow at 5 pm on behalf of the Opposition parties.

“The five of us will probably meet before we meet the President and finalise our strategy. We have spoken to all Opposition leaders and decided our next course of action. The delegation has been limited to five because of the COVID-19 situation although we are trying to see if they allow more leaders to join. In that case we have to rush leaders to Delhi as they are mostly in their respective states,” said Yechury.

CPI general secretary D Raja, too, confirmed that the delegation will meet Kovind on Wednesday.

“Leaders from different political parties (those opposing the farm bills) will sit, discuss and take a collective stand on the contentious farm laws before meeting President Ram Nath Kovind,” Pawar told reporters.

A sit-in meeting of the Opposition parties was ruled out as most of the leaders are not in Delhi.

Opposition parties, including the Congress, have extended their support to the farmers’ agitation and demanded the repeal of the three laws.

The three farm laws enacted in September have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

The Centre has repeatedly asserted that these mechanisms will remain. PTI

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