Representatives of the farmers’ organisations which are having a crucial meeting with the government, refused to break bread with the three participating Union ministers today. At the lunch break, farmers said “no” to the food offered by the government and stuck to the langar, which was brought in by a waiting van.
Visuals from inside Vigyan Bhawan, where the meeting is being held, showed the farmers’ representatives assembled at a long table for a hurried lunch. Some sat on the ground in a quiet corner.
“They offered us food, we denied and are having our langar, which we have brought with us,” a farmer leader said. “We are not accepting food or tea offered by the government,” another farmer leader said.
The farmers, who have been waiting at the borders of the national capital for eight days, gave a presentation in the first half half of the meeting. In it, they had focused on the inadequacies of the law and why they are apprehensive about it, sources said.
The second half of the meeting will focus on the government’s version, where agriculture minister Narendra Tomar, his cabinet colleague Piyush Goyal and junior minister Som Parkash is expected to speak.
Demanding a special session of parliament to real the laws, the farmers have said this was the “last chance” for the government.
Sources have said the government is firm on backing the laws. But they are considering other possibilities that would help the farmers come on board. These could include a written assurance about the continuance of the Minimum Support Price, the biggest concern of the farmers.
Sources said the government is also considering the farmers’ demand to be able to approach the courts in case of a dispute over contract farming. Under the current rules, such a dispute can only be resolved by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.
The farmers, however, are adamant that “nothing less than repealing the three farmer laws” will do. Just legalising the Minimum Support Price “will not serve the purpose”, the farmers’ representatives said.
“We will not leave till the government repeals the three farmer acts. We will give our demands again,” they added.