Farmers’ protest: Centre says not ‘logical’ to include MSP in talks, unions likely to reply today
The ‘Dilli Chalo’ protest against three agriculture laws called by several thousand farmers on November 26 enters the 30th day on Friday. Protesters, according to their announced programme, will picket toll plazas today while the standoff with the Centre over the laws continues, though the Centre on Thursday sent a fresh invitation to the protesters urging them to resume talks and fix a date.
Here are the latest updates of the four-week-long protest:
1. The Centre’s fresh invitation comes after the unions wrote to them that the agenda should be revised as they had already rejected the proposals after the 5th meeting.
2. The Centre said it would not be logical to include in the agenda any new demand related to minimum support price as it was out of the purview of the new farm laws. “Any new demand related to MSP, which is out of the ambit of farm laws, is not logical to include in the talks. As informed earlier, the government is ready to discuss all the issues raised by farmer unions,” the three-page letter written by agriculture ministry joint secretary Vivek Aggarwal said.
3. With regard to the Electricity Amendment bill and laws related to stubble burning, the government said it is ready to discuss if farmers’ unions have other issues apart from the draft proposal given based on the December 3 discussion.
4. Reacting to the fresh invitation, farmers on Thursday said the MSP cannot be separated from the demand of repealing the contentious laws, asserting the issue of a legal guarantee for it is a key part of their agitation.
5. The unions are likely to hold a meeting today to discuss the Centre’s letter and what to write in the formal response to the ministry.
6. Farmers have alleged that Centre’s repeated invitation without changing the agenda is a propaganda against the protesters to create an impression that they (farmers) are not interested in dialogue.
7. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with farmers from six states at 12 noon via video conferencing as he will release a fund of Rs 18,000 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme. The event coincides with former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birth anniversary which the BJP observes every year as “good governance day”.
8. PM Modi’s today’s interaction amid the ongoing standoff will be celebrated as a “festival” across the country with BJP ministers, MPs, MLAs attending the programme from various locations. One crore farmers will directly participate while over five crore will hear Modi’s speech. Union home minister Amit Shah will attend the programme in Mehrauli, while defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be in Sector 15 in Dwarka.
9. Reiterating that he will tender his resignation the day he is unable to ensure MSP, Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala on Thursday said the new central farm laws need many amendments and urged protesting farmers to give “concrete suggestions”.
10. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday met President Ram Nath Kovind and submitted a memorandum containing signatures of two crore farmers against the laws. He said the government should convene a joint session of Parliament to repeal these laws.