No minister, angry farmers walk out of meet

Accuse Union Govt of double standards | Threaten to step up agitation

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 14

Representatives of 29 farm unions from Punjab today walked out of the meeting called by the Centre to resolve their concerns over the new farm laws. They accused the government of adopting double standards with no minister present to hear them out.

At least Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar should have been present, said Joginder Singh Ugrahan of the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) after over an hour-long meeting with the Secretary, Agriculture, Sanjay Agarwal.

Later at the Krishi Bhavan here, agitated union leaders raised slogans and tore copies of the farm laws.

“On the one hand, the government has launched an outreach drive to convince farmers in Punjab and on the other, not even a minister was present at the meeting. We asked the Secretary if the government was even interested in resolving the issue,” Ugrahan asked.

Balbir Singh Rajewal of the BKU (Rajewal) said the 29 unions would meet in Chandigarh on Thursday to discuss the next course of action. “We told him (Agriculture Secretary) that this is not an agitation of the Punjab farmers alone. We are trying to resolve the issue peacefully, but attempts are being made to vitiate the atmosphere,” Rajewal said.

The BKU (Ekta Ugrahan), intensified its stir after the meeting. Its members sat on dharna outside the residences of nine Punjab BJP leaders.

The All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee claimed that the meeting was “an effort to create a false impression that the Centre is engaging with farmers, when it is going all out to enforce the black laws”.

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