Same old story: Ninth round of talks between farmers, Centre inconclusive

Both sides agree to meet January 19, a day after apex court hears application on farmers’ January 26 tractor rally

By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 15 January 2021
Farmer union delegates during lunch at Vigyan Bhavan January 15, 2021. Photo: ANI / Twitter__

Another round of meeting between farmer unions and the Narendra Modi government remained inconclusive. Farmer leaders called the experience “nauseated repetition of old things” January 15, 2021.

The ninth round of talks between the two parties, went on for around five hours at Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital.

Both parties decided to meet again January 19, a day after the Supreme Court hearing on the Delhi Police’s application on protesters disrupting Republic Day celebrations with a tractor rally. 

Like in the earlier meetings, both the Centre and farmer unions stuck to their respective stands. While the unions demanded a rollback of the three laws, the government reiterated it would not do so. 

During the meeting, there was a separate mention of one of the three laws — The Essential Commodities (Amendments) Act — when farmer unions asked the government to consider taking the amendments back first. 

“We told them that this act is not new like the other two. Here, you just have to take the new amendments back and not repeal the full law. But the government did not agree,” farmer leader Gurbaksh Singh said while speaking to the media after the meeting. 

When farmer leaders raised their other demand of giving a legal backing to Minimum Support Price (MSP), the government said it would discuss this in the next meeting and that it was working towards strengthening the MSP regime and Food Corporation of India. 

“The meeting was a waste of time. It was a nauseated repetition of old things,” Hannan Mollah, general secretary, All India Kisan Sabha, said.

Mollah also talked about the farmer unions’ rejection of the committee formed by the Supreme Court to examine concerns regarding the three farm laws. “This is between the government and us. We don’t want any court or middlemen,” he said.

The farmer leaders also put forward their concerns on the National Investigation Agency summoning Punjab residents over alleged links with banned outfit ‘Sikhs for Justice’. 

“Whenever the committee will call us, we will go and present out stand,” Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar said while addressing media after the meeting.

One of the four members of the committee, Bhupinder Singh Mann, recused himself from it January 14, citing “prevailing sentiments and apprehensions among farm unions”. 

Different farmer unions will hold a meeting January 17 to prepare an outline about their programme for Republic Day.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra led a protest outside Raj Bhawan in Delhi, in solidarity with protesting farmers January 15. 

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