A crucial meeting started on Thursday noon between Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here as the next round of talks between farmers and the Centre also got way.
The meeting started at Shah’s residence soon after the Punjab Chief Minister reached there, minutes before the fourth round of government and farmer representative meeting at Vigyan Bhawan began.
Amid the escalating farmers protest around Delhi, spearheaded by farmers from Punjab and Haryana, Shah and Amarinder Singh’s meeting is significant.
They were expected to discuss the issues plaguing the army of farmers around the national capital’s periphery.
Tens of thousands are perched along Delhi’s Singhu and Tikri borders since November 26. These farmers owe allegiance to over 32 farm unions and are huddled under an open sky at the onset of a long winter, refusing to budge until their demands are met.
The Singhu and Tikri borders, and also Chilla and Ghazipur ones have now been hosting these multitudes for over a week. Hundreds of farmers have almost blocked entry and exit out of the capital.
Shah and Punjab Chief Minister’s meeting took place after the Home Minister met Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal for about half-an-hour ahead of government and farmers’ representatives meet.
The fourth round of meeting with over 32 farmer leaders started at Vigyan Bhawan after the earlier talks remained inconclusive on December 1.
In the last meeting, the farmers’ representatives had unanimously turned down the Centre’s proposal of a special committee to thrash out the differences and resolve concerns over the farm laws.
A breakthrough was not expected in a single meeting, sources had said, in view of the government firmly standing by the laws it has called “historic reforms” in the farm sector.
The farmers though have hardened their stance, warning that if on Thursday “the last chance” for the government to take a decision on the laws was not taken the stir could intensify further.
In place of a committee, they have demanded a special session of parliament to repeal what they have called “black laws” made to favour corporates — which not entertained might lead to a chokehold across the nation, not just Delhi.