As protests intensify, opposition leaders meet President Ram Nath Kovind, demand repeal of farm laws
A joint delegation of opposition parties met President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday over the contentious farm laws. During the meet, the delegation comprising Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, Communist Party of India’s (CPI) D Raja, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury and TKS Elangovan of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) told the President that it is critical to take back the three legislations which have triggered protests across the country for over 10 days now. They also presented a memorandum asking to repeal the recently enacted agriculture laws.
“We informed the President that it is absolutely critical that these anti-farmer laws are taken back,” Rahul Gandhi told meadipersons after the meeting. He also said that the way the farm laws were passed in Parliament, “we feel it was an insult to farmers and that is why they are protesting in the cold weather against them”. “The farmers will not back down and will continue their protests till the laws are taken back,” Gandhi added.
“We have given a memorandum to the President. We are asking to repeal agriculture laws and electricity amendment bill that were passed in an anti-democratic manner without proper discussions and consultations,” said Yechury. The NCP’s Sharad Pawar said that it is Centre’s duty to resolve the issue over the legislations.
Farmers from across the country are protesting against the three farm laws - Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. They were passed by the Parliament during the monsoon session in September.
The government has held five rounds of talks with farmer leaders to resolve the issue, which have remained futile so far. Earlier in the day, the government sent a draft proposal of amendments which it plans to incorporate in the farm laws to the protersters at the SInghu border near Delhi, the epicentre of the stir. However, the proposal was rejected by the farmers.
Watch | Farmers’ protest: Center sends proposal to farmers
Meanwhile, the farmers have given a call to block Delhi-Jaipur and Agra highway on December 12 as they remain firm on the demand of complete withdrawal of the laws.
They are also planning to ‘gherao’ Bharatiya Janata Party’s offices and hold demonstrations on December 14. “We are also giving a call to farmers from other parts of the country to reach Delhi,” said farmer leaders at Singhu border.