‘Not Decisive’: Farmers-Govt Talks End, Next Meeting on 19 January

The discussions took place over the laws in a cordial atmosphere, but couldn’t reach a decisive state, Tomar said.

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India
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Farmers Protest: The discussions took place over the laws in a cordial atmosphere, but couldn’t reach a decisive state, Tomar said.
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The ninth round of talks between the Centre and the farmers’ unions over the three contentious agriculture laws concluded on Friday, 15 January, with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar saying they were not decisive. The next round of talks will be held at 12 pm on 19 January.

The discussions took place over the three farm laws in a cordial atmosphere, but couldn’t reach a decisive state, Tomar reportedly said after the talks at Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan on Friday.

“We are positive of reaching a solution through talks. The government is concerned about the farmers protesting in cold conditions,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

‘Welcome SC’s Judgment, Will Present Govt’s Side When Invited’

He further pointed out that the government has suggested to the farmers’ unions to form an informal group to finalise concrete proposals that can be discussed further at formal talks, reported PTI.

On the four-member committee constituted by the Supreme Court earlier this week to resolve the issue, Tomar said that the government welcomes the court’s judgment and will present its side before the panel when invited.

One of the four members of this committee, Bhupinder Singh Mann, had recused himself on Thursday.

“The (farmers’) unions want to continue dialogue with the government and we have no problem with that… The SC-appointed panel will also work for the welfare of farmers… (A) solution can emerge from the government-farmers’ talks as well as from the SC-appointed panel’s deliberations… We want the protest to end at the earliest.”
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, as quoted by PTI

The constitution of the panel has been criticised by the protesting farm leaders, who have said that it includes people who have expressed support for the farm laws.

Meanwhile, taking potshots at the Congress, which has been backing the farmers’ protests and demanding the repeal of the three contentious laws, Tomar said that the Congress manifesto itself had promised the reforms which are now being implemented.

“Congress party laughs at the statements and actions of Rahul Gandhi, it mocks at him. I'd like to tell him that in their 2019 election manifesto, Congress had promised that they'll bring this reform. If he doesn't remember, he should read the manifesto again,” Tomar said.

‘Will Not Go to Committee Constituted by SC’

On the other hand, Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said after Friday’s meeting that the protesting farmers’ demand of repealing the three laws and having an MSP guarantee remain. “We will not go to the Committee constituted by the Supreme Court. We'll talk to the central government only,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.

Tikait reiterated the demand that the government should repeal the three farm laws besides ensuring MSP. He also said that the anti-farm law protests will stretch for long. "The Opposition will raise this issue in the Parliament, while we will raise the issue in our protests outside the Parliament," Tikait said, according to IANS.

Meanwhile, according to NDTV, farmer leader Dr Darshanpal said, "It was a 120 percent failure. We suggested that the government remove the changes made to the Essential Commodities Act instead of scrapping it altogether. But the Agriculture Minister has not said anything on this.”

Earlier, before Friday’s talks began, Hannah Mollah, General Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha, had told ANI, “We don't expect much. The last round of talks with the government failed and now they've got the opportunity to get help from court. I think the government is not going to advance the discussions. There is no chance of further improvement on the three farm laws.”

The eighth round of talks on 8 January had also ended with no resolution of the issue.

(With inputs from ANI, PTI, NDTV and IANS.)

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