The farmers' unions on Friday warned of intensifying their ongoing protest against the Centre's contentious new farm laws if the government refuses to agree to their demand for repeal of the farm laws and a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) for crops.
Addressing a press conference at the Singhu border protest site, the farmers' leaders said that only five per cent of their issues have so far been discussed in meetings with the government. On the contrary, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday had said that a consensus has been reached between farmers' leaders and the government "on two out of four issues". Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav has also refuted Centre's claim and said, "The claims that 50 per cent of issues have been resolved are false. Our two main demands — three farm bills should be scrapped and legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP) are still pending."
Meanwhile, farmer leader Vikas Sisar told PTI that they will start shutting all malls and petrol pumps in Haryana if their demands are not met on January 4. "If the January 4 meeting with the government fails to end the deadlock, we will announce dates for shutting all malls, petrol pumps in Haryana," he said.
Besides, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday said the government is hopeful of a "positive outcome" at its next meeting with farmers' unions on January 4 but refrained from predicting whether the seventh round of talks will be the last one, saying he is not an astrologer.
Speaking to PTI, the minister said that the last meeting held on December 30, happened in a cordial atmosphere and there is a possibility of positive results in the interest of farmers and of the country's farm sector at the next meeting.
On farmer unions sticking to their demand for the repeal of three farm laws and rejecting the government's proposal to suggest alternatives, Tomar said: "We will see." Asked whether he expects the January 4th meeting to be the last one, the minister said: "I cannot say for sure now. I am not an astrologer. I am hopeful that whatever decision would be arrived at (in the meeting) will be in the interest of the country and of the farmers."