Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 20
In a development that indicated a thaw in the freeze over the three contentious farm laws, the BJP-led Union Government today offered to suspend implementation of the legislations for a year and a half or any period agreed upon mutually between the protesting farmers and the Centre.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who briefed the media after the 10th round of negotiations with the two sides, said the government was ready to submit an affidavit in the Supreme Court to dispel any doubts on their proposal.
Unions won’t shift rally to KMP e-way
- Farmers rejected a suggestion by police to hold their tractor rally on Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway instead of Delhi’s Outer Ring Road
- Union leaders and officers of the Delhi, UP and Haryana Police met at Vigyan Bhawan to discuss the rally route
- There might be another meeting with the police officers on Thursday, a farm union leader said
The unions appeared firm on their demand for the repeal of the laws, though they said they would hold internal consultations tomorrow on the fresh offer. Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) president Joginder Singh Ugrahan said, “The government proposed to suspend the farm laws for one and a half years. We rejected the proposal but since it has come from the government, we will meet tomorrow and deliberate over it.”
Tomar said he was hopeful of reaching an amicable solution in the next round of talks on January 22. “It will be victory for Indian democracy the day the agitation ends and farmers return to their homes,” he said. The government, he said, was keen on ending the deadlock on Parkash Purb of Guru Gobind Singh. “The farmers remained stuck on their demand for repeal… I am glad they have decided to discuss the matter… the matter is heading towards a conclusion,” he said. Regarding the SC order on the laws, Tomar said the government would honour its decision.
3 more farmers die
- Dhanna Singh (65) of Tunda village in Patiala and Jagjeet Singh (34) of Dhatt village in Ludhiana died due to cardiac arrest at Tikri and Kundli
- Jai Bhagwan (42) of Pakasma village in Rohtak, who allegedly consumed poison on Tuesday, died at a hospital
Sanyukta Kisan Morcha leader Darshan Pal said the unions agreeing to discuss the proposal didn’t signify they had given up their demand for repeal of the laws. Viewing the proposal as a “partial victory”, some union leaders said the government appeared to be on the “back foot” and “worried”, especially after their decision to hold their tractor rally on R-Day.
Another farm leader, Kavitha Kuruganti, said, “Besides keeping the laws on hold, the government proposed forming a committee that will discuss the future of the laws–whether to amend or repeal them.”
At one point during the discussion, the committee was projected as one that would also look into the MSP demand but towards the end, it was specified that it would only be about the three laws, a union leader said. The farmers also flagged issues related to NIA summons to some leaders and the arrest of three farmers in Shimla.
Earlier in the day, a group of farm union leaders met top officials of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh Police to discuss the route and arrangements for their tractor rally. But the unions rejected a suggestion by the police to hold their rally on the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway instead of Delhi’s Outer Ring Road, sources said.