Farmer leaders to resume talks with Centre on Dec 29

Farmer unions agree to talk to Centre on Dec 29; Demand repeal of farm laws on agenda

The decision was taken at a meeting of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farmer unions protesting

BKU leader Rakesh Tikait. Credit: PTI Photo

Farmers’ unions on Saturday said they would resume their dialogue with the Centre on December 29, with modalities for the repeal of the farm laws top on the agenda.

But agitating farmers also had a warning, as they threatened to step up protests and “take big decisions” on January 1 if the Modi government didn't relent in the month-long face-off on Delhi's borders. 

Forty farmers’ unions conveyed the date for the sixth round of formal talks but stuck to their original demands: repeal of the farm laws, statutory cover for minimum support price (MSP) and changes in the Electricity Amendment Bill to protect interests of farmers.

“We have consistently demanded repeal of the three central farm acts, whereas the government has distorted our position as if we were asking amendments to these Acts,” leaders of the 40 farmers organisations said in a letter to Vivek Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Agriculture Ministry.

“If there is no positive outcome in this meeting, farmers, along with tractor trolleys, will march on the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal highway,” the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha leader Abhimanyu Kohar said in a statement.

The farmers have also called on citizens to beat plates and utensils during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio address on Sunday.

Meanwhile, farmers’ unions claimed that more than 20,000 farmers from Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh have joined the protests at the UP-Delhi Ghazipur border.

Earlier this week, the farmers had started a relay hunger strike, with 11 representatives observing fast for 24 hours to put pressure on the government to repeal the farm laws.

On Friday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had appealed to the farmers to allow the farm laws to be implemented for a year or two with the option to amend them if not found beneficial for farmers.