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Farmers’ Protest Highlights: Unions to again meet tomorrow on govt’s fresh talks offer, indicate resumption of dialogue

Farmers' Protest Highlights: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday released Rs 18,000 crore as the next installment of financial benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme in the bank accounts of nine crore farmers.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 29, 2020 9:13:44 am
farmer protest, farmers news, farmers news, pm narendra modi, modi, pm modi, modi farmers interaction, pm modi to address farmers, modi speech, farm law, farmers live news, farmers protest reason, farmers bill 2020, farmers protest in delhi, pm narendra modi, delhi farmers protest, punjab farmer protest live news, farmers protest in delhi, farmers protest in punjab, farmer protest in haryana, farmer protest today, farmer protest latest news, farmers protest, farmers protest today, farm bill,farmers bill, farmers bill 2020 newsFarmers at the protest site at Ghazipur border on Thursday. (Express Photo: Amit Mehra)

Farmers’ Protest Highlights: The protesting farmer unions Friday met to discuss the government’s latest letter inviting them for talks, with some of them indicating that they may resume their dialogue with the Centre to find a solution to the deadlock over the contentious agri laws, reported PTI. The unions said they will hold another meeting on Saturday where a formal decision on the Centre’s invitation is likely to be taken. An official in the Union ministry of agriculture and farmers’ welfare also told PTI that the government was expecting the next round of talks to take place in the next two-three days.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal Friday said the Centre should stop defaming farmers and hold talks with them on ways to repeal its contentious agriculture laws, PTI reported. The SAD president, in a statement, said the central government is exhibiting a “callous and insensitive attitude” towards the suffering of farmers who are braving the severe cold wave conditions at Delhi borders. “It almost seems that the government wants to punish the farmers for raising their voice against the three agricultural marketing laws which were forced through in the last parliamentary session. This is the reason why the centre has adopted a policy which is aimed at tiring out the farmers,” the SAD leader said.

Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interaction with farmers, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said those misguiding farmers will be taught lesson by the public in future. “Those who are misguiding the farmers by becoming their sympathiser will be taught a lesson by the public in future,” ANI reported Tomar as saying.

PM Modi Friday released Rs 18,000 crore as the next installment of financial benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme in the bank accounts of nine crore farmers. The Prime Minister also interacted virtually with farmers from six states, during which he said, “Some parties pushing political agenda by opposing new farm laws. Some people spreading myth and lies that land will be taken away if farmers enter into contract farming.”

Live Blog

Farmers' Protest Highlights: PM Modi interacts with farmers today; Centre writes to farmers again; Congress delegation meets President seeking withdrawal of farm laws; farmers' body moves SC. Follow latest updates here.

01:37 (IST)26 Dec 2020
After farmers, now call goes to NRIs: Delhi Chalo

With farmers already staging a massive protest at the Delhi’s borders, two activists have now started an online campaign invoking the non-resident Indians (NRS) to come to India and lend “moral and material” support to farmers protesting against the Centre’s agri laws.

The #NRIsChaloDelhi campaign has been launched by Mansa-based Manik Goyal and Batala-based Joban Randhawa with an aim to tap the sizeable Punjabi diaspora, especially those living in Canada and the US. Read more

01:21 (IST)26 Dec 2020
Sena attacks Haryana, Centre for booking protesting farmers

Days after the Haryana police booked 13 protesting farmers on charges of attempt to murder and rioting, the Shiv Sena on Friday said that the governments in Haryana and Centre should keep in mind that the farmers’ agitation cannot be stopped by filing false cases.

An editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana said that the government made every effort to discredit the farmers’ agitation by terming them Khalistani and alleging China and Pakistan hand in the protests. “While the World Farmers’ Day was being celebrated on Wednesday, the BJP government in Haryana declared the farmers as murderers. The governments in Haryana and Centre should keep in mind that the farmers’ agitation can be stopped by filing false cases,” said the editorial.

On Tuesday, the Haryana police booked 13 farmers, who had waved black flags at Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s convoy in Ambala while protesting against the farm laws Tuesday, on various charges including attempt to murder and rioting.

21:59 (IST)25 Dec 2020
Snapping of power supply to Jio towers: Sabotage in disguise of farmer's agitation, says Reliance

Being questioned over some protesters allegedly disconnecting the power supply to mobile towers, at least two farmers' bodies, including Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) Friday said such action was never on their agenda and that they had only given calls to boycott Reliance stores and products.

The clarification comes two days after Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited wrote to Punjab Director General of Police complaining of 'incidents of sabotage and vandalism at Jio sites to disrupt the mobile service in state by unknown persons in the disguise of ongoing farmer's agitation”. The Reliance Infocomm, while noting that at least 200 sites had been vandalized in three days and there was damage between Rs 5 to Rs 10 crore, also sought state police's intervention. Navjeevan Gopal and Raakhi Jagga reports from Punjab.

21:56 (IST)25 Dec 2020
MSP an 'administrative' move: Prakash Javadekar

The Minimum Support Price announced by the government for crops is an administrative decision, which has has been working very well for decades and the arramgement would continue, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said here on Friday. Asked if statutory backing would be provided for the MSP, especially when his government has come forward to assure farmers in black and white that MSP would continue, he said the support price had always been an administrative decision. "MSP has always been an administrative decision and it has been working fine for the last 55 years. We will continue the arrangement, which has been in operation for last 55 years," he told reporters here. --PTI

21:53 (IST)25 Dec 2020
Centre not willing to solve farmers' issues, want to wear them down: Cong

Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi blamed those with a political agenda for the deadlock in talks over agriculture laws, the Congress hit back, saying the government does not want to solve farmers' problem and trying to "wear them down". "The entire country listened to Prime Minister Modi's clarification on TV today. They say bigger the crime bigger the clarification and the prime minister is just doing that," Surjewala said, claiming that the PM and his ministers are only giving 'clarifications' without looking into the plight of farmers.--PTI

21:42 (IST)25 Dec 2020
Unions to again meet tomorrow on govt's fresh talks offer, indicate resumption of dialogue

The protesting farmer unions Friday met to discuss the government's latest letter inviting them for talks, with some of them indicating that they may resume their dialogue with the Centre to find a solution to the deadlock over the contentious agri laws, reported PTI. The unions said they will hold another meeting on Saturday where a formal decision on the Centre's invitation is likely to be taken. An official in the Union ministry of agriculture and farmers' welfare also told PTI that the government was expecting the next round of talks to take place in the next two-three days.

21:03 (IST)25 Dec 2020
Opposition parties called farm laws important in 2019 Lok Sabha poll manifestos: Sitharaman

"Opposition parties in their manifestos for 2019 Lok Sabha elections called three farm laws important for providing relief to farmers. Since the govt that passed the laws is not theirs, but Modi Ji's, they can't accept it & are opposing it." Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

19:45 (IST)25 Dec 2020
Farmers beat plates, ring bells against farm laws during PM's address

Scores of farmers protesting against the Centre's agriculture laws here on Fbeat plates, rigriday rang bells and banged plates in a demonstration timed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech. The beating of plates, ringing of bells amid sloganeering against the government for not repealing the three new laws was done at the Dalit Prerna Sthal here "to convey farmers' dissatisfaction", a by Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lok Shakti) functionary said. --PTI

19:37 (IST)25 Dec 2020
Amarinder asks farmers not to disrupt state's telecom services

Amid reports that power supply to mobile towers was being disconnected by protesting farmers in different parts of the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday appealed to them to not inconvenience the general public with such actions. He urged them to exercise the same restraint that they had been showing over the past several months and said that telecom connectivity had become even more critical for people amid the COVID-19 pandemic. --PTI

19:31 (IST)25 Dec 2020
Stop defaming farmers, hold talks on ways to repeal agri laws, Sukhbir Singh Badal tells Centre

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal Friday said the Centre should stop defaming farmers and hold talks with them on ways to repeal its contentious agriculture laws, PTI reported. The SAD president, in a statement, said the central government is exhibiting a "callous and insensitive attitude" towards the suffering of farmers who are braving the severe cold wave conditions at Delhi borders. "It almost seems that the government wants to punish the farmers for raising their voice against the three agricultural marketing laws which were forced through in the last parliamentary session. This is the reason why the centre has adopted a policy which is aimed at tiring out the farmers," the SAD leader said.

19:14 (IST)25 Dec 2020
Punjab residents launch online campaign to solicit NRIs' support for farmers

A group of Punjab residents has launched an online campaign urging NRIs to come to India to lend "moral and material" support to farmers protesting against the Centre's agriculture laws. Manik Goyal and Joban Randhawa, who are organising the #NRIsChaloDelhi campaign, said they want to increase awareness among NRIs and channelise their support for the farmers' cause. A group of NRIs has decided to reach India on December 30 to lend "moral and material" support to protesting farmers camping at the Singhu border on the outskirts of Delhi in a bid to further strengthen their agitation against the three farm laws, the organisers said on Friday. --PTI

17:22 (IST)25 Dec 2020
Haryana: Farmers gherao JJP MLA's house; CM's visit to Bhiwani postponed

Farmers on Friday gheraoed the house of JJP MLA Ishwar Singh in Kaithal district, demanding withdrawal of support to Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana. BJP minister Kamlesh Dhanda too faced protest. CM Khattar's visit to Bhiwani district postponed keeping in view the farmers' agitation.

16:32 (IST)25 Dec 2020
Not a single benefit, a lot of harm: Kejriwal on farm laws

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday claimed the Centre's new agricultural reform laws will not benefit farmers in any way and do a lot of harm. According to the BJP, Kejriwal said, the laws will enable farmers to sell their produce outside mandis. But they only get half the price for their crop outside mandis so how is that a benefit. --PTI

16:22 (IST)25 Dec 2020
Protesters run tractor over police barricade in Uttarakhand

Protesters agitating against the new farm laws run a tractor over a police barricade in Bajpur, of the Udham Singh Nagar district in Uttarakhand.

16:12 (IST)25 Dec 2020
Rahul Gandhi lying and misleading farmers: Smriti Irani

Union minister Smriti Irani launched a scathing attack on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday, accusing him of "lying and misleading" farmers over the Centre's recent farm laws. Addressing a farmers' rally in her parliamentary constituency Amethi, Irani said, "Rahul Gandhi is telling lies and misleading farmers." "He is shedding crocodile tears for farmers and misleading them. His own jija (brother-in-law) has encroached upon land of farmers," she alleged, in an apparent reference to charges levelled against Robert Vadra by political rivals. --PTI

15:35 (IST)25 Dec 2020
Those misguiding farmers will be taught a lesson by public in future: Tomar

Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's interaction with farmers, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said those misguiding farmers will be taught lesson by the public in future. "Those who are misguiding the farmers by becoming their sympathiser will be taught a lesson by the public in future," ANI reported Tomar as saying.

15:13 (IST)25 Dec 2020
PM Narendra Modi interacts with farmers, says 'Opposition spreading myths, lies' on farm laws

In an interaction with farmers of six states on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeted the Opposition for "pushing a political agenda" by "spreading myths and lies" over the new farm laws. "Some parties are pushing a political agenda by opposing the new farm laws. Some people are spreading myths and lies that land will be taken away if farmers enter into contract farming," he said.

The interaction was part of a massive outreach programme planned by the government at a time when the talks between farmer unions and the Centre have hit a road  block impasse over the farm legislations, which has drawn lakhs of farmers from neighbouring states to protest at Delhi's borders for close to a month now.

"You would have seen that when the agitation started their demand was about MSP guarantee. They had genuine issues because they were farmers. But then those with political ideology took over," Modi said. "MSP, etcetera were pushed aside and now what is happening. They are demanding release from jail of those accused of violence... They want highways toll-free. Why have they shifted from farmer's issues to new demands," he said. He alleged that those with political agenda are not letting farmers go into any dialogue with govt to address their concerns. Read full story here

14:14 (IST)25 Dec 2020
Hope after PM's address, protesting farmers will speak to govt now: Sitharaman

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, "Through his address, PM Modi has cleared that government is ready for talks with those who have any questions regarding the three new farm laws. I hope, now protesting farmers will speak to the govt."

Sitharaman further said, "I want to ask Rahul Gandhi that were these pro-farmers policies not mentioned in the 2019 election manifesto of Congress? They are protesting just because those reforms are being implemented by PM Modi, and not them."

14:11 (IST)25 Dec 2020
Except for West Bengal govt, all other states govts joined PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme: Tomar

After PM Modi's interaction with farmers, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said, 'Except for West Bengal govt, all other states govts have joined PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme. Till now, Rs 96,000cr has been transferred to farmers. In West Bengal, this scheme will benefit 70 lakh farmers. I have written to WB CM to join this scheme.'

"Those who are misguiding the farmers by becoming their sympathiser will be taught a lesson by the public in future," he added.

13:54 (IST)25 Dec 2020
We are ready for discussions on all farmer issues with an open mind: PM Modi

PM Modi says, "Due to our commitment towards farmers, we are ready for discussions on all their issues with an open mind. Our government is ready to talk to those opposing us as long as the discussion is based on facts. Only an 'Atmanirbhar' farmer can lay the foundation for 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'."

PM Modi concludes his address.

farmers protests, MSP, Farm laws, farmers, Agriculture Minister, Govt-farmer talks, Govt letter to farmer unions, Swaminathan Committee, Indian Express Farmers at Ghazipur border in New Delhi, Thursday.

With the push of a button, Modi enabled the transfer of money at an event which the ruling BJP has made into a mega exercise to reach out to farmers by having its leaders interact with the farming community at more than 19,000 venues across the country. Modi released the instalment of Rs 2,000 to every farmer on the birth anniversary of former prime minister and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which is every year celebrated as "Good Governance Day" by the ruling party.

Meanwhile, Responding to farmer unions, protesting at Delhi’s borders against the new farm laws, who on Thursday said they are open to talks if a more concrete proposal is made, the government said it is ready for “logical resolution” of all issues raised by the farmers. In a letter to 40 representatives of farmer unions, Vivek Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, urged them to decide the time and date for the next round of talks, and also “give details of other issues on which you want to negotiate”.

So far, there has not been any headway after five rounds of talks between the government and farmer unions, who have maintained that their demand for repeal of the three farm laws was “non-negotiable”.

Also, with pressure mounting on the BJP-JJP government in Haryana over the farmers’ protests, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala Thursday offered to act as a mediator between the farmers and the Centre to resolve the standoff. He said new central farm laws need many amendments and urged protesting farmers to give 'concrete suggestions'.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi led a party delegation to President Ram Nath Kovind, seeking his intervention for repeal of the three farm laws. A memorandum submitted by the party said an “autocratic Modi government” was refusing to hear the “agony and anguish” of the farmers.

Even as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been coordinating with Opposition leaders to hold a joint rally of anti-BJP leaders in Kolkata, the CPM on Thursday worked behind the scenes to get 11 parties, including the NCP, DMK and the Congress, to issue a joint statement against the BJP government on the farm laws

The joint statement issued on Thursday – signed by Congress’s Rahul Gandhi, Pawar, DMK’s T R Baalu, J&K PAGD president Farooq Abdullah, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary D Raja, CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, Forward Bloc’s Debabrata Biswas and RSP’s Manoj Bhattacharya – slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for accusing the opposition parties of lying to farmers about the new farm laws

These are the same 11 parties that had earlier issued a statement supporting the Bharat Bandh called by farmer unions on December 8. As in the past, the AAP was not a signatory to Thursday’s statement. “The Prime Minister’s accusations are a complete travesty of truth… Many of us had opposed these Agri Laws when they were being enacted in Parliament without discussions or proper consideration. MPs who sought a vote were suspended,” the statement said

“Amongst the many unsubstantiated accusations made, one of them is that those who spoke of agrarian reforms in election manifestos earlier but are now opposing. Yes, we are for reforms, but what sort of reforms? Opposition parties seek reforms to strengthen Indian agriculture; enhance the prosperity of our farmers; and ensure continued food security for our people and the country. The present farm laws undermine these very objectives,” the statement said

Slamming the government for accusing the opposition of spreading lies on the MSP, the statement read, “The PM claims implementing the Swaminathan Commission Report in this regard. This Report had recommended an MSP of C2+50 per cent, while this government, at best, implements A2+50 per cent. In fact, this government told the Supreme Court its inability to implement C2+50 per cent MSP. Who is spreading untruths?…

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BJP sees plot, others lend weight but socially distanced

For now, the farmers’ protests in Punjab against the Centre’s three farm laws are bringing together, despite their different and often conflicting interests, sections of big and small farmers, landless agricultural labourers and commission agents. It’s a moment of unity, too, for Punjab’s notoriously fragmented farm unions.

The agitation is rippling outside the farm sector — joining, for instance, the theatre group in Amritsar, to the trader in the city’s famed wholesale cloth market. A play written in the early 1950s is seeing a revival today, says Kewal Dhaliwal, who runs Manch Rangmanch in Amritsar which has been performing at the protest sites.

Also Read:

Tell us when you want to talk, ready for ‘logical’ solution: Govt to farmer unions

Farmers protests: BJP sees plot, others lend weight but socially distanced

11 opposition parties issue joint statement against Govt: who is spreading untruths?

Farm laws: As pressure mounts, Dushyant offers to be mediator

Punjab farmers step up stir against Reliance, snap power supply to Jio towers

Will march from Gandhi Ashram to Raj Ghat, hold indefinite fast: Shankersinh Vaghela

Scrap collectors at protest sites have their hands full

At Singhu border, support from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu

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