Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday said that the Centre will present its side to the Supreme Court-appointed committee, when asked.
Earlier, the ninth round of talks between the Union government and farmers protesting against the three agricultural laws ended without any resolution. The next meeting was scheduled for January 19.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lok Shakti) spokesperson Shailesh Kumar Giri said members of the Supreme Court-appointed panel of experts, known to support farm laws in the past, should follow Bhupinder Singh Mann and not be on the “wrong side of history”. Mann has recused himself from committee, saying he did not wish to compromise farmers’ interests.
Farmers have completed over 50 days of continuous protest on the borders of Delhi, demanding repeal of legislations and a legal guarantee that all farm produce would be sold at minimum support prices.
The farmers believe that the new laws undermine their livelihood and open the path to the corporatisation of the agricultural sector. Eight rounds of talks with the government has so far failed to end the deadlock.
Read today’s top updates here:
10.50 pm: The Madhya Pradesh Congress on Friday protested at nearly 500 places in the state against the Centre’s new farm laws, reports PTI. State unit chief Kamal Nath drove a tractor in his native Chhindwara, while senior leader Digvijaya Singh took part in a rally in Sehore.
Nath said a majority of the farmers in MP had not got minimum support price for their produce, and that the implementation of the three new laws would only increase their woes. Singh, meanwhile, called the legislations “black laws”, adding that they were against the interests of the farmers.
6.45 pm: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar says Centre will present its side before the Supreme Court-appointed committee when asked, reports ANI.
6.31 pm: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar attacks Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, claiming that his party’s manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections mentioned the new farm laws, reports ANI.
“Congress party laughs at statements and actions of Rahul Gandhi, it mocks him,” says Tomar. I would like to tell him that in their 2019 election manifesto, Congress had promised that they will bring this reform. If he doesn’t remember, he should read the manifesto again.”
Tomar says Rahul Gandhi and Congress President Sonia Gandhi should come before the media and accept that they either lied in the manifesto or are lying now.
5.22 pm: BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait says our demands of repealing of the three farm laws and MSP guarantee remain, reports ANI. “We will not go to the committee constituted by the Supreme Court,” Tikait says. “We will talk to central government only.”
5.12 pm: The police in Chandigarh uses water cannon to stop the members and workers of the Congress, who were marching to the Punjab Governor, according to ANI.
5.09 pm: The Delhi Police detains Congress MPs Ravneet Singh Bittu, Gurjeet Singh Aujla and a Congress MLA, who have been protesting against the new farm laws at Jantar Mantar, reports ANI.
5 pm: The ninth round of talks end with no resolution, next meeting on January 19, reports ANI.
4.54 pm: “In his opening remarks, [Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar] said you keep saying that the government is adamant and making it an issue of ego, even though we have accepted several demands,” Baljit Singh Bali of Punjab Kisan Morcha tells PTI. “Don’t you think you should be flexible and not stick to one single demand of repealing the laws.”
4.53 pm: All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee member Kavita Kuruganti, who is a part of the meeting, has told PTI: “Both the government and farmer unions have reaffirmed their commitment to continue with the direct dialogue process.”
4.47 pm: Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav lashes out at the BJP over the new farm laws, and accuses it of extending benefits to a few people at the cost of poor farmers, reports PTI.
4.31 pm: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar says the ongoing meeting between the Centre and farmers on the three agricultural laws between “did not come to a resolution before the lunch break”, reports ANI. “The MSP [minimum support price] Guarantee Act will be discussed after the break.”
2.12 pm: Chandigarh Congress members are on their way to gherao Punjab’s Raj Bhavan, reports The Indian Express.
2.09 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says that the farm laws are not to help farmers, but to finish them, reports The Indian Express.
1.50 pm: Congress leaders Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, along with party workers, head towards Raj Bhavan in Civil lines to organise a gherao in protest against the farm laws, reports the Hindustan Times. Rahul Gandhi says the BJP will have to repeal the laws and the Congress will not relent till it is done.
12.47 pm: The ninth round of talks between protesting farmer unions and three Union ministers begins at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi, reports PTI. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash are representing the government.
11.33 am: Hannah Mollah, the general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, says they are not expecting much from this round of talks.
11.31 am: Farmer leaders reach Vigyan Bhawan to hold ninth rounds of talks with the Centre.
11.19 am: Rahul Gandhi backs farmers’ “satyagraha against government”.
11.16 am: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati says her party urges the central government to accept all the demands of the farmers, reports ANI.
11.14 am: Bhupinder Singh Mann, who recused himself from the four-member committee appointed by the Supreme Court, says since protesting farmers have decided not to appear before the panel, there is no point in being part of it.
8.28 am: The International Monetary Fund believes the farm laws passed by the Indian government have the potential to represent a significant step forward for agricultural reforms, reports PTI, citing a spokesperson of the organisation.
There is, however, a need to strengthen the social safety net for those who might be adversely affected by the transition to the new system, says Gerry Rice, Director of Communications at IMF at a news conference in Washington.
8.25 am: Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lok Shakti) spokesperson Shailesh Kumar Giri says members of the Supreme Court-appointed panel of experts known to support farm laws should follow the suit of Bhupinder Singh Mann and not be on the “wrong side of history”. Mann had recused himself from the committee on Thursday, saying he would give up any position to prevent farmers’ interests from being compromised.
“Mann’s decision is a welcome move,” says Giri. “The other three members of the panel, who have shown pro-new farm laws stance should also follow Mann’s suit. This ongoing agitation for rollback of the three agricultural laws is history in the making, and we urge they should not be on the wrong side of history.”
8.20 am: Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Balbir Singh Rajewal has written an open letter to farmers, urging them not believe in rumours being spread to defame the protests against the Centre’s farm laws, reports PTI.
He says fake news is being spread that farmers will head towards the Red Fort or Parliament on January 26 during Republic Day celebrations. He adds that the outline of the “kisan parade” will be announced next week.
8.15 am: Farms unions and the Centre will sit down for another round of talks today. Farmers leaders, however, tell PTI that they do not have much hope for a positive outcome and will not settle for anything less than the repeal of the agricultural laws.
“We don’t have much hope from the Friday meeting as the government will cite the SC-appointed panel,” Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) leader Joginder Singh Ugrahan says. “The government doesn’t have good intention to resolve our issues. We just want a complete repeal of three farm laws and legal guarantee on minimum support price for our crops.”
A quick look at the developments from Thursday:
- Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar clarified that the government’s ninth round of negotiations with farmer leaders over the new laws will take place as per schedule on Friday. There had been uncertainty about whether the discussions would be held, given the Supreme Court has appointed a panel to resolve the deadlock.
- Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary said that Supreme Court-appointed panel is an impartial one, and the farmers should put forward their demands to its experts.
- Bhupinder Singh Mann, one of the panel members, recused himself from the committee. He said that he would always stand with the farmers and Punjab.
- The Central government will be forced to take back the three farm laws, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Madurai.