Several Congress leaders and workers were detained today on their way to protest against the new farm laws.
Discussion between the Centre and farmers remains inconclusive once again. Protesting farmer unions and the Indian government met today at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi for the ninth round of talks.
The two parties couldn’t reach a common ground regarding the repeal of farm laws and Minimum Support Price. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal, and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash held the talks with representatives of 40 farmers unions.
The scheduled meeting comes barely two days after the Supreme Court appointed a four-member panel to resolve the impasse and a day after one of the four panelists recused himself.
All the eight meetings held before were all inconclusive as farmers stood strong to their demand of the repeal of the three farm laws while the government agreed to concession but not repeal. As we have reported, the Supreme Court then intervened.
Prior to the talk, Chairman of All India Kisan Coordination Committee Bhupinder Singh Mann who was appointed in the four-member committee by the Supreme Court opted out stating “I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab.”
Meanwhile, political parties jumped into the fray in support of the farmers. The main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, today observed “Kisan Adhikar Divas” (Farmer Rights Day). Protest marches were held in Delhi and other state capitals for farmer’s rights. Party leader Rahul Gandhi urged people to join the “satyagraha” against the Modi government. While leading the protest in Delhi, Gandhi said: “Farm laws are not to help farmers, but to finish them.” His and most other national opposition parties have been against the farm laws, which they say were pushed through without proper discussion and consultation. The Court rebuked the government with the same charge.
Several Congress party leaders and workers were detained across the country. Police used water cannons in Chandigarh on Congress workers who were marching towards Punjab Raj Bhawan to protest and they were later detained. Several Haryana Congress leaders including Bhupinder Hooda were detained during the march to Raj Bhawan. Uttar Pradesh Congress President Ajay Kumar Lallu and party workers were also detained while trying to march towards Raj Bhavan in Lucknow.
The next round of discussions will be held on January 19.