NEW DELHI/CHANDIGARH : The government’s hopes of ending the deadlock over the farm laws before Republic Day were dashed on Thursday with the farmers unions rejecting the proposal to suspend the laws for two years or more and forming a joint panel to examine the entire gamut of issues.
In a statement issued after two rounds of meetings, the first among the 32 Punjab unions followed by all the organisations under the Samyukt Kisan Morcha banner, the farmers said “the proposal put forth by the government yesterday was rejected.”
“A full repeal of (the) three central farm laws and enacting a legislation for remunerative MSP for all farmers were reiterated as the pending demands of the movement,” the morcha said.
But sources said the decision was not unanimous, with some smaller unions, who were in a minority, in favour of accepting the Centre’s proposal but with several conditions, while the bigger ones, mainly from Punjab, firm on continuing with the agitation. The sources said the majority view to reject the proposal was mainly two-fold.
First, the protest was peaking and if they withdrew at this point, they may not be able to build up another movement in the future for a repeal of the laws in case the proposed committee rejects this demand. Second, 143 farmers had died during the agitation and if they were to accept the offer without getting the laws repealed, their sacrifice would have gone in vain.
The split in opinion led to some heated exchanges during the meeting, the sources said, forcing a vote over the issue.
“The consensus was that we should stick to our stand of repeal. Voting took place in the meeting of all the 40 unions in which most voted for rejecting the proposal,” a leader said. Joginder Singh Ugrahan, the leader of the largest union, said, “we want the Centre to enact a legislation for remunerative MSP and also a law with the provision that the government procures these crops at MSP as it has been doing to date.”
“The Punjab unions decided to reject the Centre’s proposal. They informed this at the joint meeting. There was a feeling that 143 farmers have sacrificed their lives and there is no point in settling for anything less than a repeal,” said All India Kisan Sabha general secretary Hannan Mollah The morcha paid homage to the farmers who have died in the movement so far.
Tractor rally talks
Meeting between farmer union leaders and the Delhi Police on tractor parade on Republic Day inconclusive Farmers firm on holding the rally on the Outer Ring Road in Delhi, while police wary of disturbing law and order, want them to call it off Thousands of tractors for the rally from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan already parked on Delhi’s borders