Protesting farmers’ unions to meet a day after PM Modi’s appeal

Around 40 unions set to form a panel to hold talks with Centre, though they continue to insist on revocation of new farm laws

Protesting farmers have brought tents and blankets along with them to protect them from the biting cold. Photo: PTI

A day after Prime Minister Modi released ₹18,000 crore under the PM-Kisan cash transfer scheme and strongly criticized attempts to ‘spread rumours’ on new farm laws, the agitating farmers will meet on Saturday (December 26) to chalk out their future course of action a month after their protests began at Delhi borders.

There are reports that the protesting farmers represented by around 40 unions would form a seven-member panel to hold talks with the Centre. The two sides have so far held five rounds of talks without any result with farmers insisting on revoking the new laws.

Also read: Farmers ask for ‘concrete’ proposal; no nod for Congress march

After more than five hours of meeting by 32 Punjab farmers’ unions at Singhu border on Friday, the common view was that the government must repeal the laws.

On Friday Modi reassured the farmers about the minimum support price for their produce. “I ask even those opposing me today that my government is ready to talk to them on farmer issues…I urge our farmers not to be misled.”

The BJP, as part of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birthday celebrations, reached out to over 9 crore farmers in an exercise projected as the biggest attempt to counter the farmers’ protests.

On his part, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh urged the farmers to “allow implementation of the new laws for a year or so.” He reiterated that the government would be ready to amend the laws if they are not found to be beneficial to farmers.

Also read: Protesting farmers counter propaganda, fake news with IT cell, newsletter

The government last Sunday (December 20) had asked protesters to inform it about the date for next round of talks. On Saturday, the farmers are due to discuss the contents of their response to the latest government offer.

There are reports that a group of NRIs has decided to reach India on Dec 30 to lend its support to the protest.