New Delhi: The ninth round of talks between the Centre and the farmer leaders remained inconclusive on Friday (January 15), as protesting farmer unions stuck to their demand for repeal of the three farm laws. The two sides, however, decided to meet again on January 19 at 12 pm to resolve the issue.
After the end of the meeting that lasted for nearly five hours, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told reporters that he has urged the farmer unions to form an informal group among themselves to prepare concrete proposals to be discussed in the next meeting.
Tomar said, “Today’s talks with farmers unions were not decisive. We will hold talks again on 19th January. We are positive to reach a solution through talks. The government is concerned about the farmers protesting in cold conditions.”
Union Agriculture Minister said the government will present its side before the committee constituted by the Supreme Court when asked.
“The Congress manifesto in 2019 itself promised these reforms and therefore Sonia and Rahul Gandhi should tell us whether they were lying at that time or are lying right now,” he added.
The minister said, “We suggested they can form an informal group of people who can understand the laws better and prepare some concrete proposals, detailing what are farmers’ expectations and what clauses are problematic for them, which the government can consider with an open mind.”
Tomar further said the government is hopeful of discussions reaching some decisive stage at the tenth round of talks on January 19.
On the direct talks between the government and farmers continuing despite the Supreme Court appointing a panel, he said everyone is fully committed to the apex court and the government will also present its side before the committee panel when invited.
“Unions want to continue the dialogue with the government and we have no problem with that. The SC-appointed panel will also work for the welfare of farmers,” he said.
The minister said solution can emerge from the government-farmers talks as well as from the SC-appointed panel’s deliberations, adding “Our effort is to resolve the issue through dialogue and we want the protest to end at the earliest given the adverse weather conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic situation.”
Earlier in the day, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not respect farmers and wants to tire out those protesting against the Centre’s new agri laws. He also said that the talks that are being held with the protesting farmer leaders are part of the government’s delaying tactics.
Farmers will not relent till the laws are repealed, said Rahul Gandhi at Jantar Mantar, where he along with Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra joined party MPs in their demonstration against the new farm laws.
Rahul Gandhi added that “The three (farm) laws have been brought to finish the farmers. If we don’t stop this now, it will continue to happen in other sectors too. Narendra Modi does not respect the farmers. The farmers will neither deter nor fear.”