Talks between the government and farmers hit a roadblock; Unions threaten to escalate unrest | India News
In the eleventh round of talks, peasant leaders adhered to their demands for a total rollback of the laws and a legal guarantee for the Minimum Price of Livelihood (MSP) system. The Center, for its part, asked the unions to reconsider their proposal to suspend the legislation for 12-18 months.
With both parties refusing to compromise on their respective positions, the talks ended again without any conclusion.
Unlike the last 10 rounds of talks, there was no decision on the next meeting date.
The government appeared to have hardened its position at the meeting, saying it is ready to meet again once the unions agree to discuss the proposed suspension.
This followed a large decline made by the Center during the last round when they offered to suspend the laws and form a joint committee to find solutions.
Peasant leaders said they will intensify their agitation now and claimed that the government’s approach was not correct during the meeting.
While the meeting lasted nearly five hours, the two parties sat face to face for less than 30 minutes, they said.
A peasant leader said that the government conveyed to them that the meeting process is ending.
“The minister made us wait three and a half hours. This is an insult to the farmers. When he came, he asked us to consider the government’s proposal and said he is finishing the meeting process,” said Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh, leader of the SS Committee. . Pandher told the ANI news agency.
During the meeting, the three central ministers, including Tomar, urged the union representatives to reconsider their position, after which the two parties went to lunch.
The recess, during which the peasant leaders had their food in langar (community kitchen), lasted more than three hours. The pause also saw the 41 farmer leaders consulting with each other, sometimes in smaller groups, while the three central ministers waited in a separate room at Vigyan Bhawan.
Peasant leaders during the eleventh round of talks with the central government. (PTI)
After the meeting, the leader of the Bharatiya Kisan (Ugrahan) Union, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, said that the discussions had been interrupted because the unions rejected the government’s proposal.
The ministers told the unions that they have been given all possible options and should internally discuss the proposed suspension of the laws.
Tomar told farmer leaders that the government would be ready for another meeting if farmers want to discuss the proposal, the sources said.
The minister also thanked the unions for their cooperation and said that while there were no problems with the laws, the government offered to suspend them out of respect for protesting farmers.
Leaving the meeting venue, peasant leader Shiv Kumar Kakka said there was no progress in the discussions and the government asked the unions to deliberate on their proposal again.
Kakka was the first to leave the meeting, but said it was for “some personal reasons.”
Union Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar with Union Minister of Trade and Industry Piyush Goyal. (PTI)
In the latest round of meetings on Wednesday, the government had offered to suspend the three laws and establish a joint committee to seek solutions. However, after internal consultations on Thursday, the farmers’ unions decided to reject the offer and abide by their two main demands: the repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee of the minimum support price (MSP).
“We told the government that we will not accept anything other than the repeal of the laws. But the minister asked us to return to discuss separately, rethink the matter and transmit the decision,” farmer leader Darshan Pal told PTI.
BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said: “We clearly conveyed our position to the government that we want a repeal of the laws and not a suspension. The ministers asked us to reconsider our decision.”
Some leaders expressed fear that the movement will lose its momentum once farmers leave Delhi’s borders.
Harpal Singh, President of Bhartiya Kisan Union – Asli Arajnaitik (Royal Apolitical), said: “Even if we accept the government’s offer, our brothers sitting on the borders of Delhi will accept nothing but the repeal of the laws. They will not forgive us. What achievement will we show you? ”
He also questioned the government’s credibility, claiming it was hard to believe that they will keep their word to suspend the laws for 18 months.
“We will die here, but we will not return without the laws being repealed,” Singh said.
Together with the Union Minister of Agriculture, Tomar, the Minister of Railways, Trade and Food, Piyush Goyal, and the Minister of State for Commerce, Som Parkash, also participate in the talks with representatives of 41 farmers’ unions in Vigyan Bhawan here.
At a full general body meeting on Thursday, Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the body that brings together protesting unions, rejected the government’s proposal.
“The total repeal of three central agricultural laws and the enactment of legislation for a remunerative MSP for all farmers were reiterated as pending demands from the movement,” Morcha said in a statement.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at various border points in Delhi for more than a month against the three laws.
Farmer groups have argued that these laws will end the mandi and MSP procurement systems and leave farmers at the mercy of large corporations, even as the government has dismissed these apprehensions as out of place.
On January 11, the Supreme Court suspended the implementation of the three laws until further orders and appointed a four-member panel to resolve the impasse. The president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, Bhupinder Singh Mann, had withdrawn from the committee appointed by the supreme court.
Shetkari Sanghatana (Maharashtra) Chairman Anil Ghanwat and agricultural economists Pramod Kumar Joshi and Ashok Gulati, the other three members of the panel, began the consultation process with stakeholders on Thursday.
(With inputs from agencies)