Shah holds meeting as farmers continue protest on Delhi borders

Punjab and Haryana Farmer during A protest against kisaan Bill at Singu border in New Delhi on Monday (photo:Qamar Sibtain)

New Delhi, (Samajweekly) Even as farmers continued to protest on Delhi borders, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is chairing a meeting here to deliberate on the issue with senior leaders.

The meeting that began on Monday morning at Shah’s residence, where Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and other senior BJP leaders were also present, seems to indicate the central government’s willingness to hold unconditional talks with farmers.

The meeting, sources said, would decide on the future course of action by the Union government to persuade farmers to end their protest and resolve the contentious issues through discussions across the table.

Home Ministry sources said that the government could sent out an invite to farmers for talks any time.

The development comes a day after the farmers rejected the Centre’s offer for parleys if they shifted to north-west Delhi’s Burari ground and ended their protest.

The meeting comes just two days after the Home Minister announced that “if farmers’ unions want to hold discussions before December 3, then I want to assure you all that as soon as you shift your protest to the designated place, our government will hold talks to address your concerns the very next day”.

As the farmers’ protest entered the fifth day on Monday, some farmer leaders also confirmed the development that the government may soften its stand on their protest.

In the last five days, both farmers as well as the central government have been holding a series of meetings to decide their future actions. But they have not come forward for talks on the issue so far.

After Shah’s assurance, it was learnt, some farmer leaders were in touch with BJP leaders and also holding discussions among themselves on parleys with the central government if it gets ready for unconditional talk.

Meanwhile, the farmers’ protest was on at Delhi’s Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders on the Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Rohtak and Delhi-Ghaziabad routes respectively. They have been allowed to rally at their current locations amid heavy police presence.

The farmers have been protesting to demand the repeal of three controversial agricultural laws enacted in September.

Farmers mainly from Punjab, spearheaded by 31 farmers’ unions, had announced their intention to hold protest in Delhi on November 26 and 27. However, police tried to stop then in Haryana as they rode towards Delhi but they moved ahead and reached Singhu and Tikri borders, where they have been rallying.