When Union home minister Amit Shah invited the representatives of protesting farmers’ groups for talks, there were high hopes that the BJP’s “Chanakya” might be able to put an end to the protest and resolve the issues. However, the late-night meeting of farmers’ representatives and Amit Shah ended in a failure.
The protesting farmers have clarified that they would not settle for anything less than the repeal of the contentious farm legislations. Also, many representatives threatened to boycott the scheduled talks with the Centre on Wednesday.
Meeting with Centre cancelled
Following Shah’s failure to resolve the farmers’ agitation, Wednesday’s meeting with agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar has been cancelled.
General secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, Hannan Mollah said, “No meeting will be held between farmers and the government tomorrow (Wednesday)”. He also told that the government will be sending a written proposal to farmers and the farmers will hold a meeting among themselves to discuss the proposal.
Amit Shah requested farmers to end agitation
Shah’s efforts, a day before the scheduled sixth round of talks between the government and farmers’ unions, were aimed at ending the protests on Delhi’s various borders by thousands of farmers and their family members that have been going on for 12 days.
The meeting with a select group of 13 leaders followed a four-hour ‘Bharat Bandh’ observed by farmers and trade unions that affected normal life in some states.
At the meeting, Shah requested farmer leaders to end the agitation and said the government will send a proposal in writing. Some farmer unions asked why the government did not consult them before bringing these laws. To which, the ministers said there is no point in looking back, said Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh’s national president Shiv Kumar Kakka.
Three union ministers who have been leading the government’s consultations with the agitating farmers—Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash—were part of the meeting.
Farmer leader Darshan Pal of AIKSCC, who attended the meeting with Shah, said, “The central government will send us a note on our demands tomorrow. There won’t be any meeting between the Union government and farmer leaders tomorrow.”
Few farmers’ leaders in favour of amendments
However, a few leaders who attended the meeting with Shah appeared to be in favour of necessary amendments and assurances on the minimum support price (MSP) regime and the mandi system rather than a complete repeal of the laws enacted in September, indicating some kind of divisions among the unions.
After the meeting which ended around midnight, All India Kisan Sabha general secretary and CPI(M) leader Hannan Mollah said, “The home minister has made it clear that the government will not repeal the laws. Shah-ji said the government will give tomorrow in writing the amendments which the government is keen to. We will decide about attending the meeting after discussing the written amendments with all 40 farmer unions.”
At the same time, he also added, “We don’t want amendments, we want repeal of laws. There is no middle path. We will not attend tomorrow’s meeting.”
Mollah said a final decision on attending the sixth round of talks will be taken at a meeting of union leaders Wednesday at noon at Singhu border, where thousands of farmers have been camping for the last 12 days demanding the repeal of the laws.
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