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 on 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 We will not go home, till the time the laws are repealed,” BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said.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.
‘Government sensitive on farmers’ issues’
After the meeting, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government is sensitive about farmers’ issues and offered clause-wise discussion on the three Acts but they could not reach a conclusion.
“The meeting was held in good atmosphere but farmers were adamant on their demands and we could not arrive at any conclusion.
“The next meeting has been decided with due consensus,” he said in response to allegations by farmer leaders that they did not trust the government.
“Several rounds of talks are held during such important issues. The government has to decide keeping in mind farmers of the entire country. Both sides want to resolve the issue. The laws have been made keeping in mind the best interest of farmers,” he said.
However, after today’s meeting it is more or less clear that the government has ceded all it intends to on this issue.
Also read: Ahead of meet, Sonia seeks repeal of laws
It is in no mood to give any further leverage to farmers, the government sources say even while farmers say they will escalate their agitation and make it more intense.
The government has shown a certain amount of toning down so far as agitators are concerned. However, it seems both sides are now depending on the Supreme Court to provide them some amount of elbow room to come out of the situation.
“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,” a farmer leader earlier said.
Though 40 unions were present at the meeting, the talks were mostly headed by a group chosen by the representatives.
Union Minister for Agriculture Narendra Tomar had expressed hope of a positive outcome from the meeting that was considered a ‘make or break’.
According to BKU leader Rakesh Tikait, “Sixty farmers have been martyred and there can be no going back on the demands now.”
“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.
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.