Govt seeks five names for panel on MSP, other issues; two union leaders say time to discuss dharna end, Tikait remains defiant

The SKM clarified that its meeting to discuss the pending demands and to decide the future course of the farmers’ movement will be held on December 4 instead of Wednesday.

The SKM clarified that its meeting to discuss the pending demands and to decide the future course of the farmers' movement will be held on December 4 instead of Wednesday.

A day after the Parliament cleared the Bill the three contentious farm laws which triggered a farmers’ protest last year, the Centre on Tuesday sought five names from the Samkyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) to be included in a committee for discussion on a host of issues, including MSP, and the umbrella body of farmer unions will decide those in its December 4 meeting, farmer leader Darshan Pal said on Tuesday.

“Today, the Centre has asked for five names from SKM for the committee that will deliberate on the issue of minimum support price (MSP) for crops. We have not yet decided on the names. We will decide in our December 4 meeting,” Pal told PTI.

In a statement on Tuesday, the SKM clarified that its meeting to discuss the pending demands and to decide the future course of the farmers’ movement will be held on December 4 instead of Wednesday.

Meanwhile, The Indian Express quoted Kulwant Singh Sandhu, general secretary of Jamhuri Kisan Sabha, saying that the farm laws have been repealed and if their other demands such as forming a committee on MSP and discussing its modalities, and withdrawal of FIRs against farmers are also met, “it will be a strong point to lift the dharna” by farmers who have been protesting at Delhi’s borders for a year now.

Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of BKU (Dakaunda), too said: “Now we should start discussions about lifting dharnas from the borders, at places in Punjab and other states as well. This discussion should start within the unions now.”

“The government approached us on Tuesday, seeking names of five farmer union leaders to be part of the MSP committee. They gave us a verbal assurance that letters have been sent to all states to withdraw cases lodged against farmers. But there is nothing in writing yet. The Home Ministry is in constant touch with us. Hence, I believe most demands have been met,” he said.

However, a defiant Rakesh Tikait, told India TV that the protest will end only after the Centre gives an assurance on MSP, and fulfils other demands put forth by the farmers, including withdrawal of cases against protesting farmers. It is reported that the Home Ministry has already communicated to the state governments to begin the process of withdrawal of more than 48,000 cases against farmers during the year-long anti farm law agitation.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that a committee would be formed to take decisions on the subjects of promoting zero budgeting-based agriculture, changing crop patterns as per the changing needs of the country, and making MSP more effective and transparent.

He announced this during his address to the nation in which he also stated that the government has decided to repeal the three farm laws, which were at the centre of protests by farmers for the past year. The prime minister had said the committee will have representatives from the Central and state governments, farmers, agricultural scientists and agricultural economists.

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