New Delhi: Leaders of various farmer organisations arrive at Vigyan Bhawan after the central government invited them to hold talks, as they continue their agitation at Delhi border points against the new farm laws, in New Delhi, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.
New Delhi: Leaders of various farmer organisations arrive at Vigyan Bhawan after the central government invited them to hold talks, as they continue their agitation at Delhi border points against the new farm laws, in New Delhi, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.
PTI / Kamal Kishore

New Delhi: A three-member team, representing the central government, on Tuesday held talks with farmers who are protesting the three farm laws. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash met with representatives of the farmers at Vigyan Bhawan here.

The centre has invited leaders of 32 farmers union for the meeting, which began in the afternoon here, shortly after 3 PM.

This is the third round of talks over the past few months which began with a meeting between the farmers and Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Aggarwal.

The farmers have said that nothing short of unconditional repealing of the contentious farm laws will be accepted. However, the Narendra Modi-led central government has repeatedly defended the laws and is instead trying to address the farmers' concerns regarding the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) and the mandis.

It is expected that the talks will continue over a considerable period of time, as any immediate breakthroughs are not likely. The farmers have said that they will continue their agitation in and around the national capital until the government concedes to their demands.

Before the commencement of the meeting, Agriculture minister Tomar told mediapersons, "Som Parkash ji, Piyush Goyal ji and I will be present in the meeting. The options which we will offer to them will depend on the exact demands which they present."

Naresh Tikait, president Bharatiya Kisan Union who is leading farmers` protest at Ghazipur-Ghaziabad (Delhi-UP) border said, "Government has called the Punjab delegation at 3 PM. Later, the government will hold meeting with delegations from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Delhi at 7 PM today. We all want final decision on the matter."

Ahead of the meeting with the farmer leaders, several Union Cabinet Ministers held meeting at the residence of BJP President JP Nadda.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar attended the meeting.

Sources said that for the past two days, the ministers have worked the phone lines and there have been backchannel talks to find a way forward.

They said various leaders from states who gave had a good rapport with the leadership of agitating farmers were also contacted.

PM Narendra Modi had lauded the new agriculture reform laws in his 'Mann Ki Baat' programme on Sunday and blamed opposition-peddled "rumours" and "propaganda" for the farmers' unrest in and at the borders of the national capital.

At the Delhi border points, including Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur, a heavy police force have been deployed.

This comes as farmers from Punjab and Haryana have been protesting against the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The farmers are demanding a withdrawal of the laws that were passed in the Monsoon session of the Parliament.

(With agency inputs)

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