The eighth round of negotiations between the protesting farmer unions and the Centre on Friday ended on an inconclusive note, with farmers sticking to their demand of repeal of the farm laws and the Centre insisting to limit the talks to contentious clauses. Holding their ground during meeting, the farmers on Friday told the government their “ghar wapsi” can take place only after “law wapsi“. However, the Centre ruled out a complete withdrawal of Acts, asserting the laws have been welcomed by a large section of farmers in other states across the country, and asked the unions to think about the interests of the entire country.
The next round of talks is likely to be held on January 15.
Ahead of the talks, Tomar said he was hopeful a solution would be found. “I am hopeful that talks will be held in a positive atmosphere and a solution will be found. During discussions, each side has to take steps to reach a solution,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. The seventh round of talks remained inconclusive Monday over two key demands — repeal of the newly enacted laws and provision of legal guarantee on the minimum support price.
On Thursday, Tomar met religious leader Baba Lakha Singh, one of the heads of the Nanaksar Sikh sect based in Punjab. Singh, who has been organising langar at the protest sites, said he wished to mediate between the government and protesting farmers. While Tomar played down the meeting, farmer unions said the religious leader wasn’t speaking for them. A day before the talks, thousands of farmers also held a tractor march, a “dress rehearsal” for Republic Day on January 26, when they plan to hold a bigger march towards Delhi. Farmers say over 5,000 tractors rode towards the eastern and western peripheral expressways from Singhu, Tikri, Ghazipur and Palwal.