Yadav, however, added: “We are flexible and will go with open mind." But when Yadav insisted the discussion with the government would be on “modalities of repeal” of the laws, not on whether laws be repealed, Darshan Pal of Punjab Krantikari Kisan Union said “these details could be avoided”.
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi aggressively defended the new farm laws, agitating farmer unions on Saturday proposed to hold another round of talks with the government on December 29 to resolve the vexatious stand-off. The unions have proposed a four-point agenda for the talks, sticking to their key demands, and indicating they are in mood to relent.
“We have proposed discussion on four points — modalities of repeal of the three farm laws, mechanism and procedure of providing legal guarantee to minimum support price (MSP) at C2 costs, insulating farmers from the ordinance on air pollution and necessary changes in draft electricity bill to keep farmers out of its ambit,” said Yogendra Yadav, member of all-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee after three-hour joint meeting of over 35 farmer organisations.
Yadav, however, added: “We are flexible and will go with open mind.” But when Yadav insisted the discussion with the government would be on “modalities of repeal” of the laws, not on whether laws be repealed, Darshan Pal of Punjab Krantikari Kisan Union said “these details could be avoided”. This indicates some kind of moderation in the approach of some of the leaders.
Addressing farmers on Friday, Modi had asserted that the new pieces of legislation would unshackle Indian agriculture and enable ‘Brand India’ to establish itself in the global agricultural markets. He also slammed the Opposition for spreading lies and myths, while the new laws would only give more alternatives for the farmers to sell their produce.
More than a lakh farmers have been protesting at the national capital borders for over a month demanding repeal of three farm laws. They fear mandis run by APMCs will be closed and MSP system will be abolished in the long run. Modi and other senior ministers had assured a number of times that they are prepared to give written assurance on continuation of both systems.
Referring to last letter received from the agriculture ministry, Yadav said though they have been consistently demanding on legal guarantee of MSP from day one of the protest. It has, however, been called a “new demand” by the government.
The protesting farmers have also demanded to keep farmers away from the ordinance on air pollution recently promulgated in which penalty for stubble burning has been kept at up to Rs 1 crore and five-year imprisonment. The other demand of the farmers is to continue the current system of free electricity for agriculture as provided by some states and not to insist on metering and transfer of subsidy through DBT as proposed in the Draft Electricity Bill.