New Delhi, December 08:
A five-member team of farmer leaders is meeting in Delhi to discuss the proposal sent by the centre yesterday evening – one which, if accepted, could end more than 15 months of (sometimes violent) protests against the controversial farm laws and demanding a legal guarantee for MSP.
The centre scrapped the farm laws last month – in a stunning U-turn after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union ministers had staunchly and repeatedly defended the controversial laws. The farmers welcomed the decision but indicated they would not stand down till the MSP issue was resolved.
After the Delhi meeting, the five farmer leaders will go to Singhu (on the city’s borders) – where thousands of farmers have been camped for close to a year – for a 2 pm meeting with the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of farmer unions that is leading the protest.
The farmer leaders say they have been in touch with central government officials via the phone.
Meanwhile, ahead of today’s Parliament session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meeting with senior ministers, including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Among the points on their agenda, sources said, is the farmers protest.
In a significant development yesterday, sources said the centre had indicated its willingness to offer a written assurance on almost all of the farmers’ demands, including a committee on MSP and the dropping of all cases – those filed during the protests and those related to stubble burning.
It was understood that while the farmers were largely happy with the centre’s offer, there was one sticking point – the centre wants the farmers to stand down before police cases are dropped.
A discussion was held yesterday but farmer leaders could not settle on how to move forward.
Last week the farmers said Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to them (via a phone call) to discuss outstanding issues; this was after their protests forced the recall of the farm laws.
The farmers had then constituted the five-member panel to hold talks – talks that were to include their demand to legalise MSP and withdraw police cases against the protesters.
The centre was given a ‘deadline’, which expired yesterday. “… if a compromise is found, then there is a possibility of farmers going back,” Yudhvir Singh, a union leader told