Farmers' protest: Suspension of farm laws is final offer, says govt

While the meeting lasted for almost five hours, the two sides sat face to face for less than 30 minutes
The 11th round of talks between the protesting farmers and the Centre ended in a deadlock again, with the former sticking to their stand of complete repeal of the laws.

Even the government hardened its stand, saying that the latest proposal of keeping the laws in abeyance for 12-18 months is the best it can do.

Urging the farmers to reconsider their stand on the latest offer, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said there was no problem with the laws but an offer of suspending them was made as a respect to the farmers.

Unlike the last 10 rounds, the 11th round of talks could not even reach a decision on the next date for the meeting. This is because the government also hardened its stand, saying it is ready to meet the farmers again once the unions agree to discuss the suspension proposal.

This follows a big climbdown by the Centre during the last round when it offered to suspend the laws and form a joint committee to find a solution. Farmer leaders said they will intensify their agitation now and alleged that the Centre’s approach was not right during the meeting.

While the meeting lasted for almost five hours, the two sides sat face to face for less than 30 minutes.

Tractor rally at Ring Road 

Farmer leaders said their proposed January 26 tractor rally will take place on Delhi’s busy Outer Ring Road as decided earlier. 

Coming out of the meeting, farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said it is for the government to ensure that the rally is peaceful. 

During the meet, the three central ministers – including Tomar, railways, commerce and food minister Piyush Goyal and minister of state for commerce Som Parkash – urged the union representatives to reconsider their stand, after which the two sides went for lunch.

The break lasted for more than three hours. During this period, the farmer unions held consultations while the central ministers waited in a separate room at Vigyan Bhawan.

The agriculture minister blamed “external forces” for the farmers’ rigid stand and said no resolution is possible when the sanctity of the agitation is lost.

After the meeting, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) leader Joginder Singh Ugrahan said the discussions have broken down as the unions rejected the Centre’s proposal.

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