Ahead of the talks between the Centre and the protesting farmers scheduled for Friday, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has said that the government is ready to consider any proposal other than withdrawing three new agricultural laws.
However, one of the main demands from the central government of farmers is to withdraw the new agricultural laws.
Tomar, along with Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Prakash, said that he could not comment on the outcome of talks with 40 protesting farmer unions at Vigyan Bhavan at 2 pm.
“I can’t say anything right now. Basically, it depends on what issue is discussed in the meeting,” Tomar said when asked about the possible results of Friday’s meeting.
On Thursday, thousands of farmers took out tractor marches from their protest sites along the borders of Delhi, Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders and Rewasan in Haryana. The protesting farmers’ organizations said that this is just a “rehearsal” ahead of the proposed parade of tractors coming from different parts of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to the national capital on January 26.
The minister also denied making a proposal to Baba Lakha, the head of Punjab’s Nanaksar Gurdwara, to end the deadlock. He is a well-known religious leader of the state. “The government has not made any such proposal. The government has said that it will consider any proposal except seeking to withdraw these laws,” he said.
At the same time, Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Chaudhary said that the new agricultural laws give freedom to the farmers and the government is hopeful of ending the existing deadlock as soon as possible.
“The steps that have been taken are just the beginning and more reforms are to be done. Next, there will be the Pesticide Bill and the Seed Bill,” the minister said.
The protesting farmers have been camping on the borders of Delhi for more than a month and are demanding the withdrawal of all three laws. They are also demanding a guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for crops. Most of these protesting farmers are from Punjab and Haryana.