New Delhi: Farmer unions agitating against the three farm laws asked the government Monday to fix a date for the next round of talks. The farmer unions took the step soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged them to end their stir. He also invited them to resume the dialogue. The farmer unions however, objected to Modi’s remarks in Rajya Sabha. Modi said that a new ‘breed’ of agitators called ‘andolan jivi’ has emerged in India. Modi also said that agitation has an important role in a democracy.
Farmer leader Shiv Kumar Kakka is a senior member of the Samkyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) which is spearheading the ongoing stir. He said they are ready for the next round of talks. The government should tell them the date and time of the meeting.
“We have never refused to hold talks with the government. Whenever it has called us for dialogue, we held discussions with Union ministers. We are ready for talks with them (government),” Kakka said.
Eleven rounds of talks have been held over the contentious farm laws. However, the impasse continues as the farmer unions remain firm on their demands. They have demanded the repeal of the three laws and legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP).
In the last round of talks, the government had offered to suspend the laws for 12-18 months, but the farmer unions rejected it.
Thousands of agitating farmers have been camping at three Delhi border points – Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur – for over 70 days.
Speaking in Rajya Sabha, the prime minister assured the farmers that Mandis will be modernized. “Not just this, MSP was there, it is there and will remain,” Modi said.
“We urge those sitting on the agitation that even though it is their right to agitate, the way the old people are sitting there, is not right. They (agitators) should be taken back. They should end the agitation and we will together find a solution as all doors are open for dialogue. From this House, I again invite them for dialogue,” Modi said while appealing to farmers to end their agitation.