The seventh round of meeting between representatives of protesting farmers and the Central government failed to resolve the impasse against the three farm laws. The government remained firm on not repealing the contentious laws and is believed to have suggested a panel to take the matter forward, PTI reported. The farmer groups also stuck to their demand for the repeal of the Acts.
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait, who is participating in the meeting, told PTI over the phone during the break that the first hour of discussion remained focussed on the three laws. “Our demand is the repeal of the laws. We will not agree to any alternatives such as the setting of the committee,” he said.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, who is an MP from Punjab, are present at the meeting with the representatives of 40 farmer unions. The representatives of protesting farmers had their own food, arranged from langar (community kitchen), as they have been doing for the last few times. However, unlike the last round of talks on December 30, the ministers did not join the union leaders for the langar food and were seen having their own discussion separately during the break, which lasted for more than one and half hours.
The farmers had earlier threatened to intensify protest by shutting malls and petrol pumps if today’s talks with the Centre fail. “Our demands remain the same. The farm laws must be repealed. The two amendments need to be rolled back and the government must listen. Our agitation will continue,” Jageer Singh Dalewal, a Bharat Kisan Union member said. They even threatened to shut malls and petrol pumps if the Monday’s talks with the Centre fail.