As the protest of farmers entered its 30th day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed it politically motivated, while the farmers’ unions are demanding inclusion of a repeal of the new agriculture laws on the agenda to resume the dialogue.
Modi said in his virtual public address that the three laws brought by his government last year were aimed at uplifting farmers’ income.
Thousands of farmers from several Indian states have been camping outside capital New Delhi. They demand repeal of the laws they say would snatch their livelihood.
Ironically, Modi did not mention the negative impact of the laws as feared by farmers. However, in his video conference to seven farmers from different states, he boasted of financial gains to them, saying that they got minimum income support under the scheme. Interestingly, those seven farmers were a handpicked lot who praised the premier for his initiative.
On the other hand, protesting farmers have hardened their stance again. Farmers unions alleged that the government’s latest letter for talks was nothing but propaganda against them to create an impression that they were not interested in talks.
The unions said that the minimum support price (MSP) could not be separated from the demand of repealing the laws, asserting that the issue of a legal guarantee for the MSP was a key part of their agitation.
Prime Minister Modi once again offered farmers to come for discussions at any time and asserted that a “self-reliant farmer can lay the foundation for a self-reliant India.”
“Due to our commitment towards farmers, we are ready for discussions on all their issues with an open mind at any time. Some political parties supported these laws in the past. The government is ready to talk to those opposing us as long as the discussion is based on facts.”
At least six rounds of talks between Modi’s government and farmer leaders on the new laws have failed.
As per the latest news, the Indian capital New Delhi has been barricaded and security forces were deployed at Delhi’s Ghazipur border. As farmers have been protesting on the borders of Delhi, police advised commuters to take alternative routes.