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Ready for 12th round of talks but Govt must have a proposal: Farmer Union

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Hitting out at the Centre over the new agriculture legislations, Samyukta Kisan Murcha, an umbrella organisation of various protesting farm unions alleged that the government is not making any efforts to resume talks with the protesting farmers, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi having said that the Centre was “just a phone call away”.

“The government may say they are just a phone call away but they should come up with some proposal. Tell us the time and place (for talks). We are ready, we have no problem,” farmer leader Darshan Pal said.

 

Meanwhile, Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni said that the unions were ready for the 12th round of talks with the Centre. “We went 11 times. We are ready to go for talks for the 12th time. But the government should not crack a joke when it says it is just a phone call away as we cannot see that in reality,” Chaduni said.

Furthermore, Pal also took a dig at the PM’s “andolan jeevi” remarks, and said, “It is such a big agitation, which is being supported by people from across country, but we are being dubbed as andolan jeevis. They are saying such things in Parliament, this shows their non-seriousness.”

“Their love is not for fellow countrymen but for big corporates,” said Pal without naming anyone but directing his attack at the government.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait reiterated on Friday that the protesting farmers will not return to their fields until all their demands are met.

It was not immediately clear if Tikait’s remark at a ‘mahapanchayat’ in Haryana was a climb down from his earlier assertion that there will be no “ghar wapsi” unless the laws are withdrawn.

The government has been urging farmer unions to consider the Centre’s proposal of putting the laws on hold for 18 months rather than the complete repeal of the legislations.

Tikait also revealed plans by farmer leaders to hold meetings in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat. Tikait further asserted that the government will have to resume talks with the farmer unions’ committee spearheading the agitation against the laws.

“This agitation will continue until the Government of India talks to the committee and arrives at an agreement. Till that time, farmers will not return home,” he said addressing a “mahapanchayat” organised by “Dalal Khap 84” near the Tikri border outside the national capital.

Gurnam Singh Chaduni also said the claims of the government regarding minimum support price (MSP) are misleading. “They are procuring only that much as is needed for the PDS,” he alleged.

Earlier in his address, Chaduni asked the government to release the farmers arrested in the wake of violence in Delhi on January 26, saying they should not be compelled to take any such step which may create problems later.

In his address, Darshan Pal asked the gathering, “In Punjab, the SAD had withdrawn support from the NDA. Farmer friends of Haryana, are you ready to bring down the BJP-JJP government or not?”

In his address, Tikait alleged that farmers from Gujarat were being pressured not to lend support to the agitation.

“If anyone from Gujarat wants to come here to support the agitation and if it is found they are coming, police are being sent to their homes,” he alleged, adding that they will hold meetings in Gujarat and other states.

Tikait also said the “business on hunger” will not be allowed and those wanting it will be “driven out” of the country.

Hitting out at the farm laws, he claimed the legislations will lead to the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) and exploitation of farmers, from whom big companies will procure their produce at cheaper rates and then store it in godowns.

Big godowns will be built, which will be barricaded on similar lines like the ones near the protest sites at the Delhi borders, he said.

Without naming anyone, he said attempts have been made to divide the farmers’ stir. “They tried to divide us on the lines of Punjab and Haryana, then small and big farmers, he said.

“We have said that the three laws are not acceptable to farmers and should be rolled back. But how will they take back these laws when godowns were built first and laws were framed later,” he said.

“They did business of temple, religion and feelings. Now, they want to do the business on hunger,” Tikait alleged.

(With PTI inputs)