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Govt Avoiding Core Issue: Farm Unions After the 7th Round of Talks

Devanshi Doshi

Another inconclusive 7th round of talks between the government and the farmers’ unions took place on Monday, 4th December. 

The discussions began with the government represented by Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Piyush Goyal and Som Parkash joining the kisan union leaders in observing two minutes silence for the farmers who have lost their lives during the course of the protests.

However, this common ground proved to be short-lived as the government insisted on discussing amendments and not the repeal of the three farm laws, which is the main demand of the farmers, reported the Quint. 

The unions insisted that the government begin discussing modalities to repeal the three laws, while the latter wanted to discuss the issue of Minimum Support Prices.

The pre-lunch session was mostly dedicated to the Union ministers trying to explain to the farmers what amendments could be brought to the three laws. During that session, the ministers also claimed that farmers across the country support the farm laws, a claim that was contested by the farmers' representatives. When it became clear that the government had no intention of even discussing the repeal of the three laws, the farmers' representatives became restive. Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) chief Joginder Singh Ugrahan is reported to have said that he's not interested in the clause-by-clause discussion as proposed by the government.

"We aren't here to play merry go round," Ugrahan is reported to have said, according to author Amaan Bali who has been tracking the protests and talks closely.

The meetings between the two side keep getting unfriendlier every time. In the sixth meet on December 30, the ministers partook of the langar brought for the farmers by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. This didn't happen this time, as the farmers sat on the floor and ate the langar that the DSGMC had brought for them, while the government had the official lunch. The next round of negotiations is scheduled to take place on 8 January and even that may be under a cloud.

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