Talks between the Centre and the protesting farmers on Monday remained inconclusive, as the farmers remained firm on their demand of repeal of the three new laws deregulating the sale of crops. However, the government expressed optimism of a possible breakthrough in the next meeting that the two sides agreed to hold on Friday.
“Looking at today’s discussion, I hope that we will have a meaningful discussion during our next meeting and we will come to a conclusion,” said Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
The meeting started with observation of a two-minute silence for farmers who have died during the ongoing protest.
The meeting was not as cordial as it was on December 30, when the two sides had reached a consensus on two of the four demands, said people aware of the matter. Unlike last time, when the farmers broke bread with the ministers, the representatives of farmers refused to share lunch with the ministers on Monday, the way they rejected the government’s offer to discuss specific issues in the three farm laws over which the farmers have concerns.
“Farmers have trust in the government that there will be a resolution to the present deadlock. That’s why they have agreed to take forward the discussion for the next meeting,” said Tomar.
He said the discussion revolved around repealing of the laws, which the government defended saying it was ready to make changes wherever there was a problem.
“There were some discussions on MSP (minimum support price) also. But we can’t say anything unless we reach a consensus. We expect farmers to come up with contentious issues in the laws on which the government is committed to discuss with open mind,” said Tomar.
The agriculture minister said the government makes laws keeping in kind welfare of people across the country.
“We have to see the interest of the entire farming community. We also meet farmer unions favouring the three laws. Any decision will be taken only after considering the mindset of a larger set of people,” said Tomar.
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