Ahead of the next round of talks between the Centre and the representatives of protesting farmers, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held deliberations with Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in the national capital on Wednesday on ways to dispel concerns over the new farm laws.
During the deliberations on Wednesday, the ministers are believed to have discussed the issues raised by farmers, and how the Union government can constructively respond to dispel concerns expressed by them over the farm laws, according to news agency PTI.
Tomar, Goyal along with Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash had represented the Union government on December 1 (Tuesday) during the talks with farmer leaders, who have been demanding a repeal of the newly enacted laws.
Over 35 farmer leaders had held a three-hour meeting on Tuesday at Vigyan Bhavan with the ministerial delegation. Though their first round of talks on Tuesday did not yield a breakthrough but both sides agreed to hold the next round of talks on Thursday.
In a statement, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), an umbrella outfit of the farmer unions, said the talks remained inconclusive. Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting for seven consecutive days at the borders of the national capital against three farm laws.
The farmers have expressed apprehension that the Centre's farm laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporates. The government has maintained that the new laws will provide farmers with better opportunities. It has also accused the opposition parties of misleading farmers.
The protesting farmers on Wednesday demanded that the central government call a special session of Parliament to repeal the new farm laws and threatened to block other roads of the national capital if their demands are not met.
Addressing a press conference, farmer leader Darshan Pal accused the Centre of dividing farmer organisations, but it will not happen. He said that protesting farmers will continue their agitation till the three farm laws are repealed. "Centre should call a special session of Parliament to repeal the three farm laws," Singh said.
Another farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chadoni said that if the Centre does not withdraw the new laws, more steps will be taken in the coming days to press their demands. Before the press conference, leaders of around 32 farmer organisations held a meeting which was also attended by Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait at the Singhu border.
Away from the comfort of their homes and undeterred by the winter chill, farmers camping at Delhi's Singhu border say they are prepared for a long haul and will not leave until their demands are met. The farmers, who have come from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana, start their day with a bath at petrol pumps, where they also wash their clothes.
They return the favour by cleaning the petrol pumps. Then they cook on the roadside. Anyone visiting the protest site is also offered a wholesome meal which includes dal, rice, paranthas and kheer on different days.
A continuous supply of tea helps the protesters brave the cold weather conditions. Before they retire for the day, they gather in groups, singing songs and playing the drums to keep their spirits high.