The ninth round of talks between the government and the agitating farmers ended inconclusively on Friday. The next round of meeting has been scheduled for January 19.
The meeting of the farmer leaders with the government, which started at 12 noon on Friday and went on for around five hours, over the three contentious farm laws and the demand for minimum support price (MSP) ended in a stalemate.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said, "Our demand will remain the same and we will not go to the committee formed by the Supreme Court, but continue to hold talks with the government. We still demand that the government should repeal the three farm laws besides ensuring MSP."
Tikait also said that the anti-farm law protests will stretch for long. "The opposition will raise this issue in the Parliament, while we will raise the issue in our protests outside the Parliament," Tikait said.
He also said that the government is not accepting the demands of the farmers.
Meanwhile, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar hoped that a solution can still emerge from the talks as well as from the SC-appointed panel's deliberations.
"Discussions took place over three farm laws in a cordial atmosphere, but couldn't reach decisive stage. We want the protest to end at the earliest," he said, "The unions want to continue dialogue with the government and we have no problem with that. The SC-appointed panel will also work for the welfare of farmers. We are fully committed to the Supreme Court's orders and welcome their judgement. The Government will present its side before the court-appointed panel when invited."
He added that the government is hopeful of discussions reaching some decisive stage at the tenth round of talks on January 19 (Tuesday).
"The government suggested that farmer unions form informal groups to finalise concrete proposals that can be discussed further at formal talks."
This was the first meeting between the two sides after the Supreme Court order on January 12, which stayed the implementation of the three farm laws and also formed a four-member committee to look into the farmers' issues. However, on Thursday, farmer leader Bhupinder Singh Mann, one of the four members on the committee, had recused himself from the panel constituted by the top court.
Earlier, eight rounds of talks were held between the farmers and the government, but they all turned out to be inconclusive.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh have been agitating against the three farm laws on the borders of Delhi since November 26. Their main demand is that the government must repeal the three farm laws enacted in September last year.
(With inputs from agencies)