Fifth round of talks between Centre and farmers under way
Ahead of their meeting with farmers at 2 pm on Saturday, top ministers, including Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, are meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the offer they are considering to make to them.
While the Opposition parties in states namely Bihar and Tamil Nadu are mounting pressure, the agitation is now being seen as a ‘jan andolan’ movement of farmers, common people and youngsters and farmer leaders are also under tremendous pressure to not budge from the stated stance.
The meeting between 40 farmers’ unions and the Centre is under way at the Vigyan Bhawan.
Ahead of the ‘nirnayak’ meeting, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who has arrived for the meeting, again expressed hope of positive results.
Sources say Home Minister Amit Shah also called up many union leaders, asking them to end the agitation.
Though the Government appears to be willing for amendments, union leaders are firm on their key demands — rolling back of the three “black” Central Acts, the Air Pollution Ordinance and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill.
With the farmers’ movement and demands growing by the day, there are concerns now regarding the length and breadth of the movement.
Farmers’ unions say BKU (Rajewal) president Balbir Singh Rajewal, who was feeling unwell yesterday, is now alright and will attend the 2 pm meeting today.
Sources say today is the make or break meeting and the fact that ministers are meeting the Prime Minister ahead of it shows the intent to resolve the matter as fast as possible.
As the government appears to be in a mood to agree to some points, farmers’ leaders say today’s meeting will be ‘aar-paar ki ladai’.
The government is under attack for allowing the movement to fester for long and sounding it only as a Punjab agitation.
As support pours in from across the country, farmers’ leaders also fear “attempts by the government” to “malign/break the movement”.
Farmers’ unions have given a call for ‘Bharat bandh’ on December 8. Farmers will also be burning effigies of the Narendra Modi government and corporate houses today — the day Punjab ‘jathebandis’ and other farmers’ leaders meet Agriculture Minister regarding the three contentious Farm Acts.
Farmers’ leaders, including from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana/Andhra Pradesh and Bengal, collectively decided that they would go for the meeting but will sit through it only if the Centre assured that the three laws would be repealed and guarantees MSP on all 23 crops across the country.
Incidentally, farmers are also planning to ghearao toll plazas to stop them from charging toll tax on a day announced later.
The protest is not only being followed by Punjab but also across India and also several parts of the world.