Yesterday's talks failed, government to send new proposal to farmers
After a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah didn't yield the desired results, the Centre will now send a new proposal to farmers, who have been protesting against three agricultural laws. Reports suggested the proposal will be sent by 11 am. The agitating farmers are also planning to hold a meeting at the Singhu border, the epicenter of the protest, today. Here's more.
Shah, who holds an enviable position in the current BJP-led government, spoke with 13 farmers' leaders last evening, a day before farmers were scheduled to have the sixth round of talks with the Centre. At the meeting, farmers asked Shah to just reply in a "yes" or "no" whether the Centre will revoke the three laws. The Home Minister replied in the negative.
After the meeting, All India Kisan Sabha leader Hannan Mollah told the Centre is not considering repealing the laws, which farmers believe will leave them at the mercy of big corporate players. Shah listened to them patiently, reports said, but put a final word on the Centre's stance that the laws will stay. Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal had earlier said the same.
The Home Minister is also believed to have told the farmers that the government is ready to give written assurance on MSPs. He attempted to junk their fears linked to APMCs, saying it has nothing to do with the new reforms. Repeating what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said a few days ago, Shah told them the Centre is, in fact, strengthening mandis.
To placate the furious farmers, Shah also offered to sweeten the deal. He said the government will propose amendments linked to the fee structure in APMCs. The government can also impose stringent measures to safeguard farmers' land rights and will work on strengthening notified markets. Meanwhile, at the crucial meeting today, farmers will decide among themselves if they have to renew their demands.
Now that today's meeting has been canceled, farmers could meet with the Centre tomorrow, December 10, after pondering over the fresh proposals. "No meeting will be held between farmers' unions and government on Wednesday. The minister has said that a proposal will be given to us. We will hold a meeting over the government's proposal," Mollah was quoted by TOI.
Notably, the farmers' protest donned political colors after the opposition used the agitation as a tool to target the Centre. Today, a delegation of opposition leaders, including Congress' Rahul Gandhi, NCP's Sharad Pawar, Sitaram Yechury from CPI(M), D Raja from CPI, and DMK's TKS Elangovan, will meet President Ram Nath Kovind to discuss the agitation, that has been going on for two weeks now.