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January 18, 2021
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Amit Shah’s talks with farmer leaders fail, today’s talks hang in balance

Amit Shah's farmer leaders

The deadlock over the new agricultural laws has increased and due to this, the sixth round of talks between the farmer leaders and the government on Wednesday has been postponed. After the Bharat Bandh was organized and before the talks, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with 13 farmer leaders on Tuesday evening to break the deadlock. In this, the farmers’ organizations remained adamant on repealing the new agricultural laws, but the government says that it is not possible to cancel the laws, they can be amended. The government will submit these amendment proposals on Wednesday and after discussing them, the farmers’ associations will decide on their next steps.

Due to no solution despite five rounds of talks, Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday evening called 13 farmers leaders for talks. Farmer leaders expected the meeting to take place at the home minister’s residence, but it took place at the Pusa Institute. The meeting started at around eight in the evening and lasted for about three hours. The eight farmer leaders attending the meeting were from Punjab and five from various country-wide organizations. The farmer leaders invited by the government for the talks were Rakesh Tikait, Gurnam Singh Chaduni, Hanan Mulla, Shiv Kumar Kakka, Balveer Singh Rajewal, Jagjit Singh, Ruldu Singh Mansa, Manjit Singh Rai, Buta Singh Burjgil, Harinder Singh Lakhowal, Darshan Pal, Kulwant Singh Sandhu and Bodh Singh Mansa.

After the meeting with Home Minister Shah, All India Kisan Sabha leader and CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Hanan Mulla said that the government has proposed only a few amendments in the laws. He claimed that the government is ready to give a proposal for amendment of the laws in writing, but all the 13 farmers associations present in the meeting are not ready on anything less than cancelling the laws.

Hannan Mollah said that we will not attend talks with the government on Wednesday. He said that there will be a meeting of farmer leaders on Wednesday at 12 noon on the Sindhu border.

Meanwhile Describing yesterday’s meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah as ‘positive’, BharatiyaKisan Union (BKU) spokesman Rakesh Tikait said that the government will give a draft to the farmers’ leaders today, which we will discuss with the farmers today. Tikait said, “I would say that the meeting was positive. The government has taken cognizance of our demands and we will be given a draft, which we will discuss.”

He, however, also said that the farmer is demanding the withdrawal of all three agricultural laws, but the government wants to amend. “We have not yet received a date for another meeting. The protests will continue,” he said.

The hope of a solution was raised in the sixth round of talks to be held on Wednesday after Home Minister Shah called the farmer leaders for talks. The reason for this was that farmers’ organizations had demanded many times that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah should talk directly on the issue of agricultural laws. While the Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Commerce and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal have been talking to the farmers so far. On the other hand, farmer leaders, who had been protesting at the borders of Delhi for the last 13 days, had organised a press conference on the Sindhu Border before meeting the Home Minister and indicated that their stubbornness would not be softened. Farmer leader Ruldu Singh Mansa said, “Apart from the cancellation of the disputed laws, there will be no negotiation on the middle path. We need answers from Amit Shah only in ‘yes or no’.

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