Farmer leaders who went to Vigyan Bhawan on Thursday for their crucial meeting with the Centre regarding the new agriculture laws are not accepting food or tea offered by the government, a leader told ANI. A video of farmer leaders sharing food that they brought with them has also surfaced. The video shows the union leaders came prepared for the lunch time — with boxes full of food and paper plate for distribution so that they don’t have to accept government hospitality.
A delegation of 40 farmers arrived at Vigyan Bhawan early in the day for their second round deliberation with the Centre amid the ongoing ‘Dilli Chalo’ protests, which entered the eighth day on Thursday. The agitating farmers earlier said they had come to Delhi for the protest with enough foodgrains in stock to sustain them for months, hinting that they won’t yield unless their demands are met.
The first meeting to end the present stalemate owing to the ongoing protest of thousands of farmers in Delhi and at the borders of the Capital city was held on Tuesday. It fell through as the farmers’ representatives refused the Centre’s proposal to set up a committee which will address the issue of the farmers. On Wednesday, Union home minister Amit Shah met agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and railways, commerce and food minister Piyush Goyal to discuss the issue. Both Tomar and Goyal are present at Vigyan Bhawan meet apart from Som Parkash who is an MP from Punjab and also is the minister of state for commerce.
Ahead of the Vigyan Bhawan meeting today, Amit Shah also met Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh who requested Shah to resolve the issue at the earliest. “Discussion is going on between farmers and Centre, there’s nothing for me to resolve. I reiterated my opposition in my meeting with home minister and requested him to resolve the issue as it affects the economy of my state and security of the nation,” Amarinder Sinh said after the meeting.
The farmers want a Parliament Session repeal the laws enacted in September, which the government had earlier rejected. It had asked the farmers’ bodies to identify specific issues that are worrying them.
The laws have been enacted as major farm reforms removing middlemen but the farmers are worried that minimum support price (MSP) will be rendered ineffective.
In a significant development of Thursday, Akali stalwart and former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal returned his Padma Vibhushan award in protest against the Centre’s farm laws.