Dilli Chalo | Farmers front rejects government’s talks offer yet again, seeks ‘concrete proposal’

Samyukt Kisan Morcha leaders say they are seeking withdrawal of the agriculture laws, not changes in them.

Updated - December 23, 2020 09:14 pm IST

Published - December 23, 2020 06:22 pm IST - New Delhi

Farmer leaders address a press conference at Singhu border in New Delhi on December 23, 2020.

Farmer leaders address a press conference at Singhu border in New Delhi on December 23, 2020.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a joint front of farmer unions, on Wednesday rejected the Union government’s offer of talks on the three farm laws, saying they were seeking the revocation of the legislations and not amendments. It urged the government to come out with concrete proposals showing an “open mind” and “good intentions” to resume the process of negotiation at the earliest.

 

Swaraj India national president Yogendra Yadav, reading out a letter from the Morcha to the government said at a press conference that the farmer unions had demanded the government to repeal the three laws, raising fundamental questions with regard to their constitutionality, basic objectives and policy direction, but the government had attempted to present these fundamental objections as mere demand for amendments.

 

The letter addressed to Joint Secretary of Agriculture Department and CEO of PM-KISAN Vivek Aggarwal said the farmer unions had made it clear to the government during several rounds of negotiations that such amendments were not acceptable to them.

 

Mr. Yadav said the agitating farmers and farmer unions were ready for talks and waiting for the government to take forward the process of negotiations with an “open heart”, “open mind” and “good intentions”. “We urge you to send a concrete proposal in writing instead of repeating the rejected proposals of meaningless amendments so that it could be made an agenda to resume the process of negotiations at the earliest,” said Mr. Yadav.

‘Bid to derail movement’

 

The letter from the Union government was an attempt to defame the farmers’ movement similar to its earlier efforts. The government was dealing with farmers as political opponents and not a group of distressed citizens. “Besides, the government holding parallel discussions with so-called farmer leaders not existing on the ground was an attempt to derail the movement,” he stated.

 

Bharatiya Kisan Union national general secretary Yudhvir Singh said farmers had categorically told the government that anything less than the withdrawal of the laws was not acceptable, but the attitude of the government and this letter were mere attempts to prolong things and break the willpower of farmers. He warned the government, saying farmers represented 60% of the population and not listening to their concerns could have disastrous repercussions. “The government should take this into consideration and find a respectable solution soon,” he added.

 

All-India Kisan Sabha general secretary Hannan Mollah reiterated that farmers had come to Delhi and were holding an agitation in extreme cold conditions to talk and find solution.

 

The Working Group of the All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), said in a press statement said that claims made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Aligarh Muslim University on Tuesday were not in harmony with the ground reality. On the call of the farmer unions and the AIKSCC, farmers and supporters observed the birthday of former Prime Minister and farmer leader Charan Singh as “Kisan Diwas” by skipping lunch, said the press statement.

 

Tomar’s call

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, at a press conference during the day, urged the agitating farmers and the farmer unions to try and understand the intent and the provisions of the three laws.

 

“If the farmers have any objections, the government is ready discuss it with them with open mind. I am hopeful that soon we will head towards an amicable solution. Talks are the only way to end stalemate and find solutions,” he noted.

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