Stalemate over withdrawal of farm laws continue between govt, farmers

After discussion of around 1.30 hours, the meeting was called-off for lunch. Last time the ministers and the farmers’ leaders had lunch together at a langar but this time they had it separately.
Ghazipur Border
Farmers Protest Ghazipur Border

New Delhi: The seventh round of meeting of the farmers’ organisation with the government at Vigyan Bhawan on Monday remained inconclusive as the farmers were adamant about withdrawal of the three farm laws.

Two issues were to be discussed in the meeting but due to the stalemate over the withdrawal of the farm laws, demand for legal guarantee on MSP couldn’t be discussed. Now, the discussion over the MSP will be held on January 8.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in the meeting that the farm laws are beneficial for the farmers across the country, therefore, decision will be taken after consulting farmers of all the states.

Taking up the issue of the farmers who lost their lives during the protest, representatives of 40 farmers’ organisation proposed to start the meeting by offering condolences to them. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and Union Minister of State Som Prakash along with the farmers’ leaders offered condolences by keeping a two-minute silence.

Sources said that the three ministers asked the farmers’ leaders to start the discussion on the three laws and discuss the issue related to MSP after that as these were two issues to be discussed today. Farmers’ leaders demanded the withdrawal of the three laws to which Tomar said that these laws have been enacted after much deliberation. They will surely benefit from them.

“As farmers of many states have supported the laws so we can’t take any decision without listening to them,” Tomar said.

Tomar also said that we will discuss every clause of the farm laws, and on whichever laws you have objections to we are ready to consider amendments.

On this, the farmers’ leaders refused to accept any amendments and unanimously demanded withdrawal of the three laws. The demand for withdrawal of the laws was put down by the Union Ministers.

After discussion of around 1.30 hours, the meeting was called-off for lunch. Last time the ministers and the farmers’ leaders had lunch together at a langar but this time they had it separately.

The farmers were adamant on their demand of withdrawal after lunch also. They said that they won’t end the protest on the borders of the national Capital till the laws are withdrawn.

Shivkumar Sharma ‘Kakka’, a farmers’ leader who was in the meeting, told IANS, “Legal guarantee of the MSP couldn’t be discussed today as the talks revolved around withdrawal of the laws. The ministers said that it takes around 20 years to bring a law to which all the farmers’ leaders said that the law should be beneficial for the public too. When we raised the issue of MSP after the lunch, the ministers said that it is a complicated matter so it will be better if both the parties can do a thorough preparation on it and discuss it in next meeting.”

Kakka said the farmers are ready to end the protest if the government is ready to repeal the laws. “We will continue to protest for years to get these laws rolled back,” he added.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Uttar Pradesh) President Rakesh Tikait said, “It is the tension of the government to end the protest not ours. Today’s meeting was inconclusive. Everything depends on government’s stand. Farmers don’t come to Delhi again and again. Now, they have come here so they don’t want to go back without any result.”

(Navneet Mishra can be contacted at [email protected])

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