PUSHED TO the wall over the farmers’ protests, the BJP has dug out old letters from opposition leaders as well as press clippings to show their changing stand. In a series of tweets, BJP organisation general secretary B L Santhosh posted clippings of farmers in Punjab and Haryana demanding that corporates be allowed in agri marketing. He also posted a 2010 letter written by Sharad Pawar, the then agriculture minister, to then Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit on private participation in marketing infrastructure. Also, Santosh posted the 2016 DMK manifesto, which talked about facilitating farmers to sell their produce without middlemen.
THE GOVERNMENT strategy to pacify the protesting farmer leaders failed to work during the fifth round of meetings on Saturday. It is learnt that Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Prakash, who is from Punjab, spoke in Punjabi to strike a chord with the farm union representatives, most of whom are from the state. However, this did not impress the farmers’ leaders who asked him to speak in Hindi as some of the members of the delegation could not understand Punjabi.
Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar, who is leading the government in the talks with the protesting farm unions, had to cancel his official engagements last week in view of his involvement in the deliberations. On December 5, he was scheduled to take part in a conference of directors of all institutes under the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, directors of Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute and Vice Chancellors of the state agriculture universities. However, he could not attend it because of the meeting with farmers unions. Tomar also had to cancel public engagements on December 1 and 3.
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