Tuesday 19 January 2021
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Government-farmer meeting ends inconclusively

Former INC head Rahul Gandhi reacted to the development by urging the government to 'wake up', shed 'arrogance' and accept farmers' demands

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Politics India Government-farmer meeting ends inconclusively

Farmers protests against the three bills that aim at transforming the way agriculture in practised in the country, primarily freeing cultivators from the legal compulsion of selling their crops to warehouses and/or brokers, have not abated yet. The NDA government had agreed to hold a meeting with agitating farmers today.

Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal held a meeting with leaders of farmer organisations at Vigyan Bhawan here. Before the meeting, several ministers huddled at BJP president JP Nadda’s residence to discuss the demands of the farmers.

The ministers asked the leaders of the farmers’ organisation to form a committee to discuss the new bills. “You give names of 4-5 people from your organisations and constitute a committee in which there’ll be representatives from govt as well as agricultural experts to discuss the new agricultural laws,” the government said.

Over 500 farmers from Banda, Chitrakoot, Mahoba, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Jhansi and Lalitpur will go to Delhi the day after tomorrow under the banner of Bundelkhand Kisan Union. The farmers will be carrying ration and other necessary things to take part in the agitation.

In the meantime, followers of rich, rabble-rousing farmer, the late Mahendra Singh Tikait, have said in Uttar Pradesh that they have the answer to police’s imposition of Section 144 (prohibition on assembly of five or more people at one place) by way of “Section 288”. It was a concoction by Tikait 32 years ago when he had gathered his followers in Delhi’s Boat Club after issuing a firman that no cop would be allowed to enter the venue while the activists themselves would ensure the maintenance of law-and-order in the enclosed area.

INC’s former president Rahul Gandhi, taking to Twitter, said everyone was indebted to the farmers for their hard work and this debt would be repaid only by giving them justice. He asked the government to wake up and shed “arrogance” to provide protesting farmers with their rights.

Ironically, eight years ago, the INC-led UPA government of the time were stressing the need for the very reforms that the Narendra Modi government has brought in. The following speech of then union minister Kapil Sibal has gone viral on social media again since the farmers’ agitation started:

There is some dissent brewing in the NDA elsewhere. In Haryana, an independent MLA quit the BJP-JJP alliance sighting displeasure over the ongoing farmers’ protest. In Rajasthan, an NDA ally issued an ultimatum to be prepared to part ways. Similar concerns were raised by BJP’s allies in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan.

Meanwhile, India objected to Canadian leaders’ comment on the farmers’ agitation, terming them “ill-informed”. The Indian government asked the Canadians to refrain from commenting on the country’s internal affairs. Earlier, reaching out to the Indian community and expressing concern over the ongoing farmers protest in India against the new farm laws, Canada’s woke Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his country would always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest.

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