Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Thursday said the protesting farmer unions will attend the scheduled ninth round of talks with the government and asserted it is necessary to continue the dialogue to resolve the deadlock and end the agitation.
While the previous eight rounds of negotiations have failed to end the protests continuing for several weeks on various borders of the national capital, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said earlier in the day that the government is hopeful of positive discussions at Friday’s scheduled meeting.
Tikait also said the protesting unions will attend the meeting with union ministers on Friday.
Asked if unions have any hope from the Friday meeting, Tikait told PTI: “Let’s see what happens tomorrow. But, our meetings will continue with the government till our protest ends as it is necessary.”
“We will not oppose the meetings with the government,” the BKU leader said when asked whether the Friday talks could be the last one if there is no solution.
Tomar had said, “The government is ready to hold talks with farmers’ leaders with an open mind.”
Clearing the confusion over the fate of the ninth round of talks, which was the only outcome in the last meeting on January 8, in the wake of the Supreme Court on January 11 appointing a four-member panel to resolve the impasse and a key member of the proposed committee subsequently recusing himself, the union leader said the talks between the government and the union representatives will take place as scheduled for 12 pm on January 15.
The farmer unions have been maintaining that they were ready to attend the scheduled talks with the government, even as they have said they do not want to appear before the court-appointed panel and have also questioned its composition.
Earlier in the day, Bhartiya Kisan Union president Bhupinder Singh Mann said he is recusing himself from the four-member committee.
Farmer unions and opposition parties had called it a “pro-government” panel, insisting that its members have been in favour of the three laws in the past.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)