Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday said the government was hopeful of resolving farmers’ protest against the three new farm laws before the new year.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that the Opposition was using farmers as a front and instigating them against the new agriculture laws, as the ongoing farmers’ agitation entered its 23rd day. Addressing farmers in Madhya Pradesh via video conferencing, the prime minister said that the political parties which are now speaking against the new agriculture laws, have mentioned them in their manifestos in the past.
Bharatiya Kisan Union chief Naresh Tikait asked the government to call an all-party meeting to resolve the standoff with the farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at key entry points to Delhi. They fear the agricultural reforms will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations.
Read today’s top updates
11pm: The All India Kisan Sabha said the issue of the ongoing farmers’ protests against needs to be resolved by the government and not the Supreme Court, reports PTI. “We have not approached the court because of this understanding that it is a struggle by the farmers against a government policy and the executive has to resolve the crisis,” senior AIKS leader P Krishnaprasad said.
9.04 pm: The All India Kisan Sabha has said the ongoing farmers’ protests against the three new farm laws needs to be resolved by the government and not the Supreme Court, reports NDTV.
9.02 pm: The traffic on Jaipur-Delhi national highway remains partially affected for the sixth consecutive day due to the farmers’ protest near the Rajasthan-Haryana border, reports PTI.
7.14 pm: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar says the government is hopeful of resolving farmers’ protest against the three new farm laws before the new year, reports PTI.
5.47 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala criticises Narendra Modi, saying that the prime minister himself has spoken about the need for a law on the Minimum Support Price regime for farmers, reports ANI. “Then why does not Modiji listen to Modiji?” he adds.
5.44 pm: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan showers flower petals on farmers at the Kisan Kalyan event in Raisen district of the state, reports ANI.
4.12 pm: Amid the continuing standoff between farmers’ and the Centre, 10 economists from various universities have written to Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to repeal the farm laws, reports The Indian Express.
“We do believe that improvements and changes are required in the agricultural marketing system for the benefit of millions of small farmers, but the reforms brought by these Acts do not serve that purpose. They are based on wrong assumptions and claims about why farmers are unable to get remunerative prices, about farmers not having freedom to sell wherever they like under the previously existing laws, and about regulated markets not being in the farmers’ interests. We are putting forward five crucial reasons as to why these three Acts, brought in as a package by the government, are fundamentally harmful in their implications for the small farmers of India.”— The letter by 10 economists, The Indian Express
4.08 pm: Union minister Smriti Irani, speaking at a farmers’ meet, says that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has provided Rs 8 lakh crores in minimum support price system to farmers during his tenure compared to Rs 3.5 lakh crores given by the United Progressive Alliance in 10 years of their regime, reports ANI. “What did they do when they were the ruling party,” she asks.
4.05 pm: Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi criticises Opposition leaders for not supporting the farm laws, reports PTI. He alleges that “failed political players” who have been rejected repeatedly by the people are acting under their “depression of defeat” and “misleading” the farmers.
Naqvi says the Narendra Modi government has always believed in talks and not confrontation to resolve the problems. “When farmers were also satisfied that what the government was saying was logical and genuine, those people who were indulging in criminal conspiracy thought their game was going awry and they started misleading people,” he claims.
2.51 pm: Prime minister defends changes in the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act, saying that the new law will not affect the existing mandis (wholesale markets) and will only give an extra option to the farmers to sell their produce to other buyers.
2.44 pm: PM Modi says both Minimum Support Price and procurement of farm produce by the Centre has gone up under his regime.
2.41 pm: “It’s been more than six months since the new laws have been implemented and MSP [Minimum Support Price] has been provided just like earlier,” says PM Modi. “How can then someone say that the MSP regime will be done away with? It is the biggest lie ever...It is the biggest conspiracy ever.”
2.38 pm: PM Modi says the Opposition is not worried about the farm laws, but is concerned that the credit for introducing the reforms will go to his government.
2.31 pm: PM Modi says the Opposition’s lack of commitment towards farmers can be gauged from their handling of the Swaminathan Committee report.
“The report came, but they did nothing about it for 8-10 years,” says Modi.
2.26 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi accuses Opposition of using farmers as a front and instigating them against the agriculture laws, to serve their own political purposes.
“The country should make those accountable who have over the years mentioned these reforms in their manifestos, but did nothing to realise them,” he says.
12.25 pm: The Bharatiya Janata Party is organising “Kisan sammelan” (farmers’ meet) in Uttar Pradesh, reports India Today. BJP leaders Smriti Irani and Sanjeev Baliyaan will address the gathering in Meerut, while Krishan Pal will address the meeting in Agra.
12.13 pm: Chipko movement leader Sundarlal Bahuguna extends his support to farmers protesting against the three farm laws, reports the Hindustan Times.
12.06 pm: Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy says leaders of the Congress, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and other parties are holding a one-day hunger strike on behalf of the United Progressive Alliance and in support of the protesting farmers, reports ANI.
10.33 am: A 60-year-old man from Bihar’s Siwan district cycles nearly 1,000 kilometres for 11 days to join the farmers’ protest near Delhi.
10.26 am: The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam observes a one-day fast for the protesting farmers in Chennai.
10.25 am: The Chilla border opens from the Delhi-Noida side. The Singhu and Tikri borders still remain closed.
10.21 am: Actor Swara Bhasker joined the farmers’ protest at Singhu border on Thursday.
10.16 am: The administration of Uttar Pradesh’s Sambhal city revises the amount it asked six farmer leaders to pay for allegedly trying to instigate farmers in the area from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 50,000, PTI reports.
10.13 am: The farmers at Singhu border says they will set up more tents as the cold wave is intensifying, ANI reports. “We’re preparing ourselves for a longer stay as our fight against black laws will continue, the farmers add.
8.34 am: Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee member Dayal Singh says they will not give up the fight against the three laws.
8.10 am: Bharatiya Kisan Union chief Naresh Tikait asks the government to call an all-party meeting to resolve the standoff with the farmers, Hindustan Times reports.
8.07 am: Gujarat Agriculture Minister Ranchhod Faldu, on the other hand, says that the new laws are meant to correct the Congress governments mistakes, according to The Indian Express.
7.57 am: Gujarat Energy Minister Saurabh Patel accuses the Congress of using the farm laws as a “political opportunity” against the Centre, The Indian Express reports. He says that the Opposition party is frustrated about not being able to come to power.
7.54 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address farmers from Madhya Pradesh at around 2 pm on Friday via videoconference.
7.46 am: Here is a recap of the events from Thursday:
- The farmers agitation against the new laws entered the 22nd day. They fear the agricultural reforms will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations.
- The Supreme Court, while hearing a bunch of petitions seeking removal of farmers from various borders of Delhi, said that it had sympathy for them, but they cannot sit on protest for years. The court also asked the Centre if the three contentious agriculture laws could be put on hold till the hearing on petitions was underway.
- Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar appealed to the farmers to “not fall prey to the white lies” of the Opposition about the new agricultural laws. The minister, in an eight-page open letter, added that the Narendra Modi-government was committed to their welfare and stressed that the new legislations were aimed at benefiting them. Modi, meanwhile, urged the farmers to read the letter.
- Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tore copies of the farm laws in the Assembly and and asked the Centre to “not become worse than the British”. Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal accused him of doing cheap theatrics.
- Six farmer leaders in Uttar Pradesh’s Sambhal city were asked to submit personal bonds of Rs 50 lakh each for allegedly trying to “instigate” farmers in the area, amid protests against the Centre’s agricultural laws.