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Amarinder to meet Amit Shah before Centre-farmer talks; Tomar hopeful

Sources said the Punjab Chief Minister sought time from Shah for a meeting Thursday and it will take place at 9.30 am.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev , Manoj CG, Harikishan Sharma | New Delhi | Updated: December 3, 2020 7:04:32 am
Farmers protest at Delhi borderProtesting farmers at the Delhi-UP border at Ghazipur in New Delhi on December 2. (Express photo: Praveen Khanna)

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah Thursday morning, before the next round of talks between the Centre and farmer union representatives, to try and resolve the standoff over the newly enacted farm laws.

Sources said the Chief Minister sought time from Shah for a meeting Thursday and it will take place at 9.30 am. Punjab officials, including Chief Principal Secretary Suresh Kumar, will accompany Singh to discuss the farmer protests at the gates of Delhi, sources said.

The Chief Minister, sources said, wants the Centre to take a call on the new farm laws, given the growing anger among farmers. He has been of the view that the Centre should agree to make MSP a statutory right for farmers and ensure that the mandi system continues.

Farmer leaders, on the other hand, have been saying they will call off the stir only if the government agrees to repeal the three farm laws passed by Parliament.

On Wednesday, farmer leaders urged the Centre to convene a special session of Parliament to repeal the new laws.

Sources said Singh could also raise the issue of Bills passed by the Punjab Assembly in October to negate the Centre’s laws. The Bills are yet to get the assent of the Governor. Singh had earlier indicated he would legal recourse should the Governor not grant approval to the Bills and send them to the President.

Meanwhile, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who has been leading the talks with the farmers, urged them to call off the protest, saying the government is ready to “listen, discuss and solve their problems”.

“Representatives of the farmer unions are going to participate in the meeting and will discuss their points. The government will place its views on the points, and they will present their views. Let us see how much of the issue can be resolved,” Tomar told reporters in response to queries about the talks Thursday.

Opinion | Farmers’ apprehensions about role of mandis, terms of procurement need to be addressed

Asked about the demand of the farmers that there should be legal guarantee of MSP-based procurement, Tomar said, “Whatever subject comes up for discussion during the meeting, that will be discussed. How an item can be disposed of, the legal aspects of that will be discussed. On the basis of this, a decision will be taken.”

He said they can proceed further only after the Acts are discussed clause-by-clause.

“If farmers have any problem regarding these reforms, then the government is ready to listen, discuss and solve their problems… They should stop protesting and find a solution through dialogue. Talks are on, we hope to find a solution soon,” Tomar said.

Earlier in the day, Tomar and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal met Shah at his residence.

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