The government’s negotiations with representatives of thousands of protesting farmers hit a roadblock as the unions squarely rejected the Centre’s proposal to put three contentious laws on hold for 18 months , while the agriculture minister blamed external “forces” for their rigid stand and said no resolution is possible when the sanctity of agitation is lost.
Unlike the last 10 rounds of talks, the 11th round saw both the sides hardening their positions and could not even reach a decision on the next date for the meeting. The government asked unions to revert by Saturday in case they agree to the suspension proposal and the talks can continue only thereafter.
Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar announced the next round of talks will happen only when farmers are ready to talk on the government’s proposal. “We thought of accommodating your concerns, not because there was anything wrong with proposal. We gave you the best proposal. Unfortunately you rejected that,” he said at the meeting.
Tomar further stated , Talks remained inconclusive as farmers’ welfare was not at the heart of talks from the unions’ side. I am sad about it. Farmers unions said that they only want the repeal of the laws despite the govt asking for alternatives.
Farmer leaders, however, said they would settle for nothing less than a complete repeal of the laws, enacted in September last year, which they find pro-corporate, and a legal guarantee for the procurement of crops at government-fixed minimum support price.
The unions said they will intensify their agitation now and alleged that the government’s approach was not right during the meeting. They also said their tractor rally will go ahead as per the plans on January 26 and unions have told the police that it is the government’s responsibility to maintain peace.
While the meeting lasted for almost five hours, the two sides sat face to face for not even half an hour. In the very beginning, the farmer leaders informed the government that they have decided to reject the proposal made in the last round of talks