Farmers Protest: Ahead of Jan 4 talks with Centre, unions call for 'Tractor Kisan Parade' on Republic Day

New Delhi: Farmers' unions on Saturday called for a tractor parade towards Delhi on January 26 against the new farm laws, ahead of the scheduled talks with Centre on January 4.

Union had on Friday said that if the talks with the government on January 4 fail then they will intensify the protest.

"We were peaceful, are peaceful and will be peaceful, but will stay at Delhi borders until new farm laws are repealed," unions said.

"On 23rd January, we will hold marches towards Governors' Houses in different States, and 'Tractor Kisan Parade' will be held on 26th January in Delhi," Krantikari Kisan Union President Darshan Pal said.

Tractor parade with national flag on January 26 will be called 'Kisaan Parade', he added.

Leaders said so far, over 50 farmers have been "martyred" during the agitation.

This comes two days before farmers unions are scheduled to hold talks with the Centre on January 4.

Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting at various borders of the national capital for more than a month against these three new laws.

The government has presented these laws as major agriculture reforms aimed at helping farmers and increasing their income, but the protesting unions fear that the new legislations have left them at the mercy of big corporates by weakening the MSP and mandi systems.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Kailash Chaudhary said he was confident that a solution will be reached in the next round of talks with farmers.

"I am confident that in the next round of talks with farmers, a solution will be reached and ongoing protest will come to an end. Three farm bills are in favour of farmers. They used to demand to get rid of middleman and sell their produce at rate of their choice," Chaudhary, Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, said.

"Regarding contract farming, in the new bill, there can't be an investigation against farmer even if he is at fault. It also states there won't be any agreement regarding land of farmer. The bill is favourable for farmers and Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants them to become 'atmanirbhar'," Chaudhary added.

The government has presented these laws as major agriculture reforms aimed at helping farmers and increasing their income, but the protesting unions fear that the new legislations have left them at the mercy of big corporates by weakening the MSP and mandi systems.

After the talks between three union ministers and a 41-member representative group of thousands of farmers protesting on Delhi borders on Thursday, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said at least 50 per cent resolution has been reached with mutual agreement on two out of four items on the agenda and discussions would continue on the remaining two on January 4 at 2 PM.

Farmer leaders said the claim that the government has accepted 50% of the demands is a "plain lie".

Saturday marked the 38th day of the farmers' protest against the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Production and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020. The farmers are demanding withdrawal of all the three laws, while the government has agreed to amend the laws as per the suggestions of the farmers. The farmers will be taking up the issue during the 6th round of talks with the government.

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