New Delhi: The 11th round of meetings between the Centre and agitating farmers’ unions was held at the Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Friday, a day after farmers’ unions said no to the Centre’s proposal to suspend the controversial farm laws for one and a half years.
The farmers’ unions officially communicated their decision to the Centre in the meeting.
Responding to the decision taken by the joint farmers’ front to stick to their demand of the repeal of laws and reject the Centre’s offer, the Centre reportedly told the farmers to reconsider their decision because it has exhausted all options for them.
“We told farmers to come up with their own proposal, other than repeal, if they have anything better than our offer,” Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar told PTI.
“We told unions to get back to us by Saturday with their decision on our proposal; if they agree, we’ll meet again,” he added.
Speaking to PTI, farmers’ leader Darshan Pal, a working group member of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) said: “We told the government that we will not agree to anything other than the repeal of the laws. But the minister asked us to discuss separately again and rethink on the matter and convey the decision.”
Reportedly, the Centre and the unions have also not scheduled a future round of negotiations yet, indicating a hardening of stance on both sides. It is speculated that the process of holding talks may also end temporarily.
According to Indian Express, another farmers’ leader S.S. Pandher of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee alleged that the Centre had kept the farmers’ leaders waiting for almost three hours today, January 22.
“The minister [presumably Tomar] made us wait for three and a half hours. This is an insult to farmers. When he came, he asked us to consider the government’s proposal and said that he is ending the process of meetings,” he said.
An official response from the SKM on the latest meeting is yet to be released. This copy will be updated with the response when it is received.
Meanwhile, the committee appointed by the Supreme Court to intervene in the matter held its first meeting on Thursday. It met with representatives of 10 farmers’ unions, none of whom are part of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, and said that it has received “suggestions to improve implementation of the Acts”.
A press note released by the committee said that the farmers’ unions present in the meeting “gave their frank opinion” on the laws.
Simultaneously planning for their tractor rally on Republic Day, January 26, protesting farmers have said that they will be displaying tableaus from various states during the parade. “If all goes well, we will display tableaux of all states during the tractor parade,” Chaudhary Joginder Ghasi Ram Nain, a Bhartiya Kisan Union leader from Haryana, told the Indian Express.