CHANDIGARH: The protesting farmers have accepted the invitation of the Centre to attend Tuesday’s meeting. But it has been decided that in the parleys with the Union government, 35 farmer leaders will be involved. This includes not only Punjab farmer leaders but also those of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee.
Talking to The New Indian Express, Bhartiya Kisan Union, Punjab (Rajewal Group) President Balbir Singh Rajewal said, "In our meeting, it has been decided that not only leaders of 32 Punjab farmers unions will attend the meeting with the central ministers at 3 pm on Tuesday at Vigyan Bhawan but also three farmer leaders of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee including Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) president Gurnam Singh Chaduni will accompany us and be part of the parleys."
Sources said that in the meeting of farmers organizations in the morning, a few raised the point that besides the Punjab farmer leaders, those from other states should also attend the talks with the Centre. Representatives of seventeen farmers unions from Haryana also wanted to be part of the meeting. Thus it was decided that instead of just farmers leaders from Punjab, other farmer leaders will also accompany them for the meeting.
"We got a letter yesterday late night signed by Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agrawal which was addressed to 32 Punjab farmers unions. But this agitation belongs to farmers of the entire country and thus farmer representatives from across the farmer organisations of the country will be part of the talks," said Rajewal.
A farmer leader said that only leaders authorised to speak to the Union minister will be allowed to put forward the points in the meeting. Other leaders can tell them if they have to say something which they will then put across.
Meanwhile, the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) refused to participate in a meeting called by the Centre.
Accusing the Union government of trying to divide the protesting farmers by not inviting all the farmer unions, KMSC general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher said, "A committee of several farmers' bodies has not been invited, and moreover, the Prime Minister is not holding this meeting. Because of these reasons, KMSC is not going to attend the meeting. If 32 Punjab-based farmers' bodies have been invited, a committee representing around 500 farmers' organisations is also there which should have also been invited. By not inviting all farmers’ bodies, an attempt is being made to divide the farmer organisations. If we attend the meeting, it will be presumed that this agitation (against farm laws) is only taking place in Punjab, which could be the conspiracy of the Centre," he claimed.
Also, special prayers were held at all gurdwaras in the national capital today morning for success of the ongoing farmers' protest against the new farm laws, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. (DSGMC) president Manjinder Singh Sirsa said after attending a prayer at the Bangla Sahib gurdwara, "'Ardas' was held at all the gurdwaras for fulfilment of the demands of the protesting farmers. We also condemn those, including the BJP leaders, who are alleging that the protesting farmers are Khalistanis and terrorists."
Announcing that he would join the farmers’ agitation, the Independent MLA from Dadri assembly segment in Charkhi Dadri Sombir Sangwan, who is the chief of the Sangwan Khap having influence in 40 villages in Bhiwani and Dadri districts, has withdrawn his support from the BJP-JJP government in Haryana. He announced this on Tuesday morning after the khap panchayat meeting. He had yesterday announced that he has resigned from the post of chairman of the Haryana Livestock Development Board.