Terai farmers from Uttarakhand will undertake a march towards Delhi to protest against the farm laws on Friday, on what will be day 30 of the protests. On Thursday, day 29 of the protests, the government reached out to the farm unions, once again inviting them for talks at a date and time of their choice. Earlier in the day, a three-member Congress delegation, including Rahul Gandhi, met President Ram Nath Kovind to seek his intervention to repeal the farm laws.
Here are key developments from day 29 of anti-farm law protests:
1. Vivek Aggarwal, joint secretary in the Union agriculture ministry wrote to farm unions, again requesting them to hold the sixth round of talks as a date and time convenient to them. The farmers had on Wednesday rejected the government’s initial proposal in this regard, which it sent on Sunday.
2. In the letter, Aggarwal stressed that it was “crucial” for the government to keep negotiations open with various farm unions. He also reiterated the government’s commitment to arrive at “logical solutions” for issues raised by the farm unions.
3. Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar met two groups of farmers, both of whom, he claimed, were in support of the reforms. 60 members of the Kisaan Majdoor Sangh and 21 from the Kisan Sena met Tomar separately, and expressed their support. He also showed a letter of support from the Kisan Majdoor Sangh.
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4. Tomar lashed out at Rahul Gandhi for meeting President Kovind and submitting a memorandum seeking a repeal of the laws. Remarking that even the Congress doesn’t take Gandhi seriously, Tomar said that the farmers told him that no one from the party came to get their signatures.
5. The minister was referring to claims made by the Congress that its memorandum to the President had signatures of two crore people against the laws. “If Rahul Gandhi was so worried, he could’ve done something when his government was in power. Congress has always been anti-farmer,” Tomar said.
6. 11 Opposition parties, including the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Samajwadi Party (SP), issued a joint statement, condemning prime minister Narendra Modi for his “baseless allegations” that the Opposition was lying to farmers about the new laws. “PM’s accusations are a “complete travesty of truth,” the statement said.
7. The parties further demanded a repeal of the three laws and that of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The government should hold discussions with the farmers and all stakeholders, the statement said.
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8. Earlier in the day, Rahul Gandhi, interacting with the media after meeting President Kovind, called PM Modi “incompetent.” Targeting the government, he said that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, too, would be called a “terrorist” if he too “stood up” against the PM.
9. The Delhi Police detained several Congress leaders, including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, for trying to march to the Rashtarapati Bhavan, despite not being given permission to take out a march. Only Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had an appointment with the President, the police said.
10. Continuing his outreach, PM Modi will on Friday transfer Rs 18,000 crore to the bank accounts of nine crore farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme.