Govt’s assembly with farmer teams inconclusive; subsequent assembly on Jan 8

Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 4

The farmers meeting with the government on Monday ended without any outcome on the main issue, that is repealing the three Acts or a law or MSP.

“Farmers spoke only about repeal. Government said they will consult further and get back. The next meeting on January 8,” said union leaders in the meeting.

Farmer unions will have their meeting tomorrow to decide the future course of action, they said.

The government is not interested in resolving the issue, said farmer leaders.

“Union ministers are saying the same thing again and again. We will hold a meeting tomorrow to decide our course . We will not go home, till the time the laws are repealed,” BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said.

Sources said the government offered a joint committee on MSP.

The impasse continued over the farmers’ key demands of having the three controversial agriculture laws repealed as well as having a legal framework to ensure minimum support price. Sources said the central government continued to stick to its guns, reiterating what it says are the benefits of the laws even as farmers remain unconvinced.  

Union Minister held a separate meeting with some other farmer leaders.

Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal held another parallel meeting.

Farmers had outlined what they expected from the meeting—they had repeatedly refused to climb down from their demands but hope that this round of talks would help bring along a breakthrough. 

Ministers give shradhanjali to 60 farmers who lost their lives during the course agitation so far. Credits: Government sources

Farmers are demanding a guaranteed MSP on 23 crops so that they can “diversify” from paddy and wheat.

Also read: SC treats Panjab University students’ letter on ‘excesses against farmers’ as PIL

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Farmer leaders on the way to the meeting with the Centre at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Monday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

“But from my understanding of the situation, it is unlikely that the government’s representatives will agree to our demands so easily,” farmer leader Darshan Pal said before proceeding to Vigyan Bhawan for the seventh round of meeting.

Ministers arrive for their meeting with the farmers. Credits: Government sources

Also read: Ahead of meet, Sonia seeks repeal of laws

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On the other hand, Buta Singh Shadipur had said he was hopeful of a good outcome from the meeting.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar arrives for the meeting. Credits: Government sources

“The farmers have been braving rains and cold and the government is now well aware of our resolve. I am sure the government has understood the reality,” he said. 

Farmer leaders on the way to the meeting with the Centre at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Monday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

Though 40 unions were present at the meeting, the talks were mostly headed by a group chosen by the representatives.

Farmers inside Vigyan Bhawan. Credit: Farmer leaders

Union Minister for Agriculture Narendra Tomar had expressed hope of a positive outcome from the meeting that was considered a ‘make or break’.

The list of farmer representatives.

According to BKU leader Rakesh Tikait, “Sixty farmers have been martyred and there can be no going back on the demands now.”

Farmers inside Vigyan Bhawan. Credit: Farmer leaders

“The agenda will be the Swaminathan Committee report, the repeal of the three farm laws and law for MSP. We will not go back. Till date, 60 farmers have been martyred. The government will have to reply,” he said.

It is not just the three laws and MSP that the farmers are contesting; they have also junked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim of implementing recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission on the MSP for crops, saying farmers are committing suicide as they are not getting the remunerative price for their produce.

Also read: Withdraw dung dump FIR or will block roads: BKU (Rajewal) 

Farmers, cops clash near BJP event

Ahead of talks Punjab’s farm unions said they would burn copies of the three contentious farm laws on Lohri (January 13) and celebrate January 23—Netaji Subhas Chander Bose’s birth anniversary—as ‘Azad Kisan Diwas’. In other words, they believe they will be celebrating Lohri at the Delhi borders.

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