Amit Shah intervenes, invites protesting farmers for meeting today
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the second most important person in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, has invited protesting farmers for dialogue at 7 pm today. He reached out to them on the same day that a nationwide shutdown is being observed against three controversial farm bills. Reportedly, 14 leaders, including 10 from organizations in Punjab, will meet Shah in the evening. Here's more.
Talks with Agriculture Minister have remained inconclusive
Till now, the farmers have been negotiating with Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar. Five rounds of talks didn't yield any results and the farmers continued protesting on highways near Delhi. Braving the chilly weather, they remained stationed at the Singhu and Tikri borders, demanding that the three laws are repealed. The government is willing to address their concerns but reportedly, won't rollback the laws.
Shah will be speaking to farmers before tomorrow's crucial meet
It's pertinent to highlight that Shah will be speaking with farmers a day before the protesters are slated to hold another round of discussion with Centre. Earlier, sources close to the government told Indian Express, that Shah or Defense Minister Rajnath Singh will be brought into the picture if the Centre gets any hints that farmers are ready for a climbdown.
Shah's earlier offer to shift protest was spurned by farmers
On November 28, Shah had reached out to farmers, telling them that the Centre was willing to hold early talks if they take their protest to Burari Ground. At the time, the government had said talks would take place on December 3. His offer also found an unlikely ally in Punjab's Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, but farmers didn't accept the same.
Meanwhile, opposition parties lent support to Bharat Bandh
Meanwhile, several opposition parties have come out in support of the farmers and the bandh called by them. In Telangana, TRS, which governs the state, Congress, and other trade unions staged protests against the Centre. DMK and Congress hit the streets in Tamil Nadu; in Puducherry, the clarion call by Congress got the support of unions. Public transport vehicles largely remained off the streets.
Punjab's residents took out protest in support of farmers
The shutdown affected normal life in many parts of Punjab, which has been on the boil since the laws were passed. A protest in support of farmers was taken out at Barnala city and in the capital Chandigarh, women volunteers asked shopkeepers to shut their shops for the day. They were seen urging shopkeepers of Sector-17 Plaza to join the shutdown.
No one is observing bandh in Karnataka: CM Yediyurappa
The bandh didn't impact normal life in Uttarakhand, though the border district of Pithoragarh observed a complete strike. And Karnataka's CM BS Yediyurappa said no one reacted to the bandh's call in his state. "The State and Centre are pro-farmer. PM won't take any decision against farmers. It's not right to give the call for bandh for political reasons," the BJP leader said.