‘Agency steps’ if January Four talks fail, warn unions

Tribune News Service

New Delhi/Chandigarh, January 1

Sticking to their demands for the repeal of three new farm laws and a legal guarantee for MSP for crops, protesting farmers today said they would have to take “firm steps” if the government failed to decide in their favour at the talks scheduled for January 4.

Addressing the media after a meeting of the representatives of various unions at Singhu near Delhi border, farm leaders said only 5 per cent of the issues raised by them had been discussed at the December 30 negotiations with the government. They warned of multiple actions if their main demands were not met.

Narendra S Tomar, Agriculture Minister

No soothsayer… expect positive result

I am not an astrologer, but am hopeful of a positive outcome at the next meeting. There’s a possibility of positive results in the interest of the country and farmers.

Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav said the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway tractor march, planned on December 31 but deferred due to the December 30 talks, would now be held on January 6 if the next round of talks failed to end the deadlock. Farmers protesting at Shahjahanpur on the Haryana-Rajasthan border would move towards Delhi, he said.

“From January 6 to 20, we will organise ‘Jagriti Abhiyan’ across the country by holding rallies to create awareness on farmers’ issues. We will observe January 23, the birth anniversary of Subhas Chandra Bose, as ‘Chetna Diwas’,” said Yadav.

Vikas, a farm leader, said after January 4, they would announce dates for shutting all malls and petrol pumps in Haryana. Gurnam Singh Charuni, BKU leader from Haryana, said, “The government is not yet ready to give anything in writing on MSP. At the last meeting, it wanted to set up a panel on the issue, which we rejected. The Centre claims the MSP will continue but if facts are checked, only 6 per cent of the crops are being purchased at MSP. Over Rs 3 lakh crore that should have come into farmers’ pockets is being denied to them by not buying crops at MSP,” he said.

Union leader Darshan Pal said the boycott of the products of certain corporates would continue and that they were also planning to launch a nationwide campaign against MPs and MLAs.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar, meanwhile, struck a note of hope saying he expected a “positive outcome”. Steering clear of a definitive answer as to whether a final resolution would be reached at the next meeting, he said he was no soothsayer. “I cannot say for sure right now as to what will happen. I am not a soothsayer… I am hopeful whatever decision is taken, will be in the larger interests of the country and the farmers,” said Tomar.

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