SAD chief urges PM to invite farmers for talks
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to invite protesting farmers for talks and also demanded a special session of Parliament to revoke the three "black" agri laws. His statement comes a day after farmers under the aegis of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) held a "Bharat Bandh" to demand repeal of the three laws.
He congratulated farmers for success of peaceful 'Bandh'
The SAD president urged Modi to intervene personally, immediately and effectively, and invite farmers for talks without precondition to revoke the three Black Acts on agri-marketing. Congratulating farmers, especially those from Punjab and Haryana, for the complete success of the peaceful "Bandh," Badal said that this should show the government that the people of the entire country stood solidly behind their annadata (food provider).
'Situation would have been different if government took SAD's advice
"If the government had heeded SAD's advice on the issue when the party not only voted against the Bills in Parliament but also broke the SAD-BJP alliance to protest against the three Acts, the situation today would have been different," he said.
Government must invite farmers without losing more time: Badal
He said, "As a first step, the government must invite farmer organizations for talks without any precondition and without any further loss of time." Badal also urged the prime minister to convene a special session of Parliament to revoke the three Acts on agricultural marketing that have led the country to this impasse.
Farmers have been protesting against farm laws since November 2020
Notably, hundreds of farmers are encamped on the three border sites of Delhi in Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur since November 2020 under the banner of SKM, demanding that the three contentious farm laws be repealed and a legal guarantee provided to them on minimum support price of crops. The SKM is an umbrella body of over 40 farm unions spearheading the farmers' protest.
The three contentious laws were passed in September last year
The three farm laws—The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020—were passed by Parliament in September 2020. Farmers have alleged that these laws will end the "mandi" and the MSP systems and leave them at the mercy of big corporates.
Farmers are ready to protest for 10 years: Tikait
However, the government has rejected these apprehensions as misplaced and asserted that these steps will help increase farmers' income. Notably, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, who has been leading the farmers' agitation from Ghazipur told NDTV, "Farmers are ready to protest for 10 years if the laws are not taken back. We will not leave even if it takes 10 years."
Government and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks
Notably, the government and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks so far, the last being on January 22, to break the deadlock and end the protest. Talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on January 26.