New Delhi / Mumbai: Hinting at a small breakthrough, agitating farmers at Delhi borders on Saturday suggested resumption of the talks with the Government on Tuesday, December 29. Their agenda has been drawn up by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha heading some 40 farmer unions involved in the protests that completed 30 days with no solution emerging in the past five rounds of the negotiations.
Leaders of all unions involved in the protests decided unanimously in a meeting called by the Morcha that they want to end the deadlock created by the BJP government's stubborn attitude. The meeting was called to chalk out their future course of action.
The farmers have limited the negotiations to five issues in a draft sent to the government:
• Repeal laws
• Guarantee MSP on all crops and not on limited number of food grains covered by the government
• Compulsory government procurement if the prices go below the MSP
• Amendment in Electricity Bill for cheaper power for farming
• No fines on farmers for stubble burning damaging air quality under the CAQM
They limited the negotiations to just five issues in a draft sent to the government. These are: Repeal laws, guarantee MSP on all crops and not on limited number of food grains covered by the government, compulsory government procurement if the prices go below the MSP, amendment in Electricity Bill for cheaper power for farming, and no fines on farmers for stubble burning damaging air quality under the CAQM (commission for air quality management) set up by the Centre last month.
The farmers, however, do not appear to relent as several batches of them headed by Delhi borders, carrying ration and other essential items to sustain the struggle for any number of days.
Meanwhile, hundreds thronged to Shahid Bhgat Singh Park at ITO here and carried out a km-long candle march up the Rajghat on Saturday evening.
A group of farmers from Maharashtra on Saturday joined protesters at one of the borders of Delhi. On Monday, thousands of farmers from Maharashtra had left for Delhi from Nashik in vehicles to join the ongoing agitation seeking the repeal of the legislation. “We received a rousing welcome at a New Delhi border. Farmers sitting on protests here welcomed us and thanked us for joining them,” said Ajit Navle, All India Kisan Sabha secretary, Maharashtra. The Unions made it clear that repeal of the three contentious farm laws, making the Minimum Support Price (MSP) a legal guarantee and amendments in the electricity bill to ensure power at cheaper rates for farming.
In a letter drafted in the meeting, the unions accused the government of misleading the people by hiding facts and asserting that "we have been always consistent in our demand for repeal of the three laws and it is the government which has tried to present as if we wanted amendments."
The Morcha leaders appealed to the government to put on hold the controversial farm laws if it is not prepared to repeal them as it will create an atmosphere in the New Year to discuss these laws threadbare and make a new beginning in a new year instead of forcing the farmers in the perpetual confrontation. They said four days should be enough to thrash out the differences and start the New Year on a new slate.
As a Morcha leader underlined on the Twitter handle of Kisanektamorcha, even farmers are interested in the agricultural reforms but they should be carried out in consultation with the farmer organisations and all political parties for smooth implementation.
RLP ditches BJP
The Rashtriya Loktantrik Party led by Hanuman Beniwal on Saturday said it was quitting the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to protest the three agricultural laws that have provoked massive demonstrations by farmers.
Addressing protesters at the Shahjahanpur-Kheda border in Rajasthan's Alwar, Beniwal said, “I am not stuck with Fevicol with the NDA. Today, I separated myself from the NDA. We won't stand with anyone who is against farmers.”
"I was stopped from entering the Lok Sabha with a fudged Covid report. Had I been there, I would have thrown away the copy of the farm bills in the House," alleged Beniwal.