Another attempt to coax farmers fails, demand for repealing 3 farm laws stay intact
Coax farmers fails: On Tuesday, Union Home Minister, Amit Shah made an attempt to bring the protesting farmers to a consensus over the controversial farm laws. But the meeting was another failed attempt as Shah clarified that the central government would not repeal the newly introduced farms laws, as proposed by farmers Unions and other supporting parties. The meeting was earlier scheduled to be held at Shah’s residence, but later the venue was changed to National Agricultural Science Complex, Pusa in New Delhi.
Shah’s ‘informal’ meeting with farmer leaders concluded with the discussion that Centre would present a draft proposal of key amendments in the contentious laws to the farmers before the next round of negotiations. Meeting with Shah was organised on the same day when many supporters of the farmers agitation observed ‘Bharat Bandh’ on their demand in some states.
Following the meeting with Shah, farmer Union leaders cancelled the sixth round of talks, which was scheduled for Wednesday, December 9. Farmer leaders said that they would first review the proposal sent by the government before proceeding on to the next meeting.
“Amit Shah told us that the government will give in writing amendments it is willing to make. We want repeal of laws, there is no middle path,” said Hannan Mollah, general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha.
“We will hold a meeting over the draft that will be sent by the Centre. That meeting (6th round of talks with the government) is cancelled. Draft will be discussed and further course of action will be decided. We hope things will be clear by 4-5 pm today,” Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), who was part of the meeting, told news agency ANI on December 9.
Three union ministers, including Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Somesh Prakash, have been leading the talks with farmer leaders on behalf of the central government.
However, cracks started emerging in the unified bloc of protesters, objecting to new agricultural laws, as some factions and unions showed willingness to drop their maximalist stand and agreed to consider a middle ground.
Though, some of the farmer leaders including Joginder Singh Ugrahan, head of the BKU, one of the largest outfits in the bloc, objected to holding interim meeting with Shah a day before the final round of official negotiation. Ugrahan, who was not invited to the meeting with Union Home minister said that there was no need for separate discussion with Shah and added that he hoped the farmer leaders who attended the meet would keep in mind common good of all.
Internal sources revealed that the centre is expected to propose amendments over the fee structure in notified agricultural produce market committees (APMCs), stronger means to protect farmers’ land rights, and strengthening of regulated markets along with providing guarantee on minimum support prices (MSPs) in the draft.