Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday visited the Singhu border and reviewed the Aam Aadmi Party government’s arrangements for the farmers protesting against the new agriculture laws.
“The farmers said they are happy with the arrangements but I am in constant touch [with them],” he said. “Our MLA Jarnail Singh spent the night here in support of the farmers. All our volunteers, workers and officers are involved in serving the farmers.”
The chief minister said he reviewed the situation and found that the toilets were clean. He said that a motor and a pipeline would be set up as water could not reach the inner points of the camp. Kejriwal conducted the inspections along with his Cabinet ministers, including Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
Kejriwal also pointed out that he was not attending the farmers’ protest as the Delhi chief minister, but as a “sevadaar”, or a serviceman, for the protestors. “Farmers work round the clock and serve us by growing food for us,” he said. “Today, the farmers are in trouble. It is our duty to stand with the farmers and serve them.”
On Tuesday’s countrywide strike, the chief minister said the AAP will participate in the bandh. “I hope everyone in the country peacefully takes part in the strike,” he said.
The chief minister asserted that the farmers protest is valid, adding that his party has supported them from the beginning. “If you remember, when the farmers came to the [Delhi] border, the Centre and the Delhi Police had sought permission from us to convert stadiums into temporary jails,” he said. “I was pressurised to give permission. They [the Centre] had planned to allow the farmers to enter Delhi from where they will put into jails.” Kejriwal added that his government did not grant them permission, which he felt would help the cause.
Farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are camping at Delhi’s borders, protesting against the three laws and demanding their withdrawal. They fear the new policies could pave the way for the government to stop buying grains at guaranteed prices, leaving them at the mercy of big corporations.
The Centre, which claims the laws would revitalise India’s agrarian economy by boosting produce, has made several attempts to placate the farmers. But five rounds of talks have failed to break the impasse so far. The agitation continued and another round of negotiations is scheduled for Wednesday.