Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday told opposition leaders that the government’s offer to suspend farm laws for 18 months was still valid and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was just a phone call away if the agitating farmers were keen to resume negotiations.
Modi’s assurance came at a meeting of floor leaders in the Parliament who demanded a repeal of the three farm laws that have seen a section of farmers protesting at Delhi borders since November 26.
Commenting on the violence during the Republic Day parade, PM Modi told the leaders that the law will take its course.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Trinamool leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Shiv Sena leader Vinayak Raut and Akali Dal leader Balwinder Singh Bhunder were in attendance, among others. The leaders raised the issue of farmers agitation and urged the government to address their concerns.
Modi said the government was approaching the issue of farm laws with an open mind.
“The proposal given by the Agriculture Minister (on January 22) still stands and the Agriculture Minister is just a phone call away for taking forward the talks,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi quoted Modi as saying at the meeting.
The Prime Minister added that the government was open for a detailed discussion on issues raised by opposition leaders and urged big parties to ensure that Parliament functions smoothly and without disruption.
“Frequent disruptions mean smaller parties suffer as they cannot express themselves adequately,” PM Modi said, re-affirming the importance of smooth functioning and comprehensive debates on the floor of the House.
Joshi told the floor leaders that the government proposed to take up 38 items, including five financial business matters, during the Session.