Protesting farmer unions said if their demands are not met, they will take out a tractor parade towards Delhi on January 26 when the country will celebrate Republic Day.
The unions said they would have to take firm steps if the January 4 meeting fails to resolve the deadlock. After the sixth round of formal negotiations on Wednesday, the government and farm unions reached some common ground to resolve protesting farmers’ concerns over rise in power tariff and penalties for stubble burning, but the two sides remained deadlocked over the main contentious issues of the repeal of three farm laws, and a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP).
Darshan Pal Singh, farmer leader, told a press conference that the proposed parade will be called Kisan Parade, and will be held after the Repblic Day parade. Yogendra Yadav, Swaraj India leader, said it is a “plain lie” that the government had accepted 50 per cent of the farmers’ demands. “We have got nothing on paper yet,” he said. Gurnam Singh Choduni, farmer leader, said in the last meeting, they had posed a question to the government that ‘will you buy 23 crops on MSP’. “They said no. Then why are you misinforming the people of the country?” he said. “So far, over 50 farmers have been “martyred” during our agitation.”
The farmers, braving the cold, have been protesting for more than a month against the three new farm laws. Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting at various borders of the national capital. The government has presented the laws as major agricultural reforms aimed at helping farmers and increasing their income. However, the protesting unions fear that the new legislations have left them at the mercy of big corporates by weakening the MSP and mandi systems.