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Farmers' Protest Updates: Congress delegation meets Kovind, seeks withdrawal of farm laws; Centre invites farmers again for talks

Farmers Protest LIVE Updates: Rahul Gandhi, with Ghulam Nabi Azad and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, met President Kovind today and handed over a memorandum signed by 2 crore farmers seeking withdrawal of the three legislations

FP Staff December 24, 2020 22:31:56 IST
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Farmers' Protest Updates: Congress delegation meets Kovind, seeks withdrawal of farm laws; Centre invites farmers again for talks

Representational Image. AP

Highlights

18:45 (ist)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

BJP dares Rahul for debate on what Congress and Modi govt have done for farmers

The BJP on Thursday challenged Rahul Gandhi for an open debate on what the Congress did for farmers' welfare when in power and what the Modi government has done for them, as it rejected his allegations against the Centre as "baseless and illogical".

Union minister Prakash Javadekar accused the Congress of ignoring farmers' interests and keeping them poor to ensure cheap grain prices, and asserted that the Modi government empowered them by implementing the Swaminathan commission report to give them remunerative price through MSP.

The BJP leader noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will transfer Rs 18,000 crore to nine crore farmers on Friday, taking to a total of Rs 1.20 lakh crore the amount of money it has directly credited to their bank accounts so far.

"This is merely the beginning. It will continue for 10 years and the total scheme is of Rs seven lakh crore," he said, noting that the all the Congress did when it was in power was to waive their loans amounting to Rs 53,000 crore. This money was not given to farmers but to banks against their loans, he noted.

"I challenge the Congress and Rahul Gandhi for an open debate. I will prove how the Congress always ignored farmers' interests and how Modi empowered them. Farmers always demanded remunerative price for their produce but the Congress never did so," he added.

The opposition party has been "unmasked" as it has become clear and it and its allies have been using farmers' shoulders to fire at the government and have been "instigating" them, he alleged.

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Dec 24, 2020 - 19:22 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

Raghav Chadha accuses BJP of vandalising his office, attacking staff; party denies

Delhi Jal Board (DJB) vice chairman and AAP MLA Raghav Chadha on Thursday claimed that BJP workers vandalised his office and attacked staff members at the board's headquarters at Jhandewalan in Delhi.

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) denied the allegations saying the attack was orchestrated by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

According to Chadha, the vandals said that the attack should serve as a warning to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and AAP MLAs for supporting the ongoing farmers' protest.

"The vandals told us that Kejriwal is coming out in support of farmers that is why we are warning him with this attack and if the party does not stop supporting the farmers movement then they will target every AAP MLA," Chadha claimed.

Kejriwal called the attack "shameful" and said the AAP would not be cowed down by such a cowardice act.

Dec 24, 2020 - 19:13 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

Traffic to Delhi hit as pro-agri law farmers gather in Noida

Traffic movement from Noida to Delhi was affected on Thursday afternoon as hundreds of farmers, who support the Centre's new agriculture laws, assembled near the Mahamaya Flyover here, officials said.

These farmers, belonging to various districts of western Uttar Pradesh, have come for the demonstration on the call of farmers' union Kisan Sena and want to go to Delhi to meet Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, according to the outfit's conevnor Thakur Gauri Shankar Singh.

This demonstration in Noida comes even as two major farmers' unions the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) and the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lok Shakti) are camping at the city's border for over three weeks now to demand the repeal of the three new central farm laws.

Besides them, thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, have stayed put for nearly a month at other border points of Delhi, including Singhu and Tikri, to protest against the laws.

Dec 24, 2020 - 18:47 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

Copy of memorandum against farm laws submitted by Congress leaders

Dec 24, 2020 - 18:45 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

BJP dares Rahul for debate on what Congress and Modi govt have done for farmers

The BJP on Thursday challenged Rahul Gandhi for an open debate on what the Congress did for farmers' welfare when in power and what the Modi government has done for them, as it rejected his allegations against the Centre as "baseless and illogical".

Union minister Prakash Javadekar accused the Congress of ignoring farmers' interests and keeping them poor to ensure cheap grain prices, and asserted that the Modi government empowered them by implementing the Swaminathan commission report to give them remunerative price through MSP.

The BJP leader noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will transfer Rs 18,000 crore to nine crore farmers on Friday, taking to a total of Rs 1.20 lakh crore the amount of money it has directly credited to their bank accounts so far.

"This is merely the beginning. It will continue for 10 years and the total scheme is of Rs seven lakh crore," he said, noting that the all the Congress did when it was in power was to waive their loans amounting to Rs 53,000 crore. This money was not given to farmers but to banks against their loans, he noted.

"I challenge the Congress and Rahul Gandhi for an open debate. I will prove how the Congress always ignored farmers' interests and how Modi empowered them. Farmers always demanded remunerative price for their produce but the Congress never did so," he added.

The opposition party has been "unmasked" as it has become clear and it and its allies have been using farmers' shoulders to fire at the government and have been "instigating" them, he alleged.

Dec 24, 2020 - 18:38 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

New agri laws making farmers feel insecure: Sachin Pilot

The Centre should repeal the new agri laws as they are making farmers feel insecure about their future, Congress leader Sachin Pilot said on Thursday, reports PTI.

The former deputy chief minister of Rajasthan said the Congress is working hard to ensure that the organisation and the state government fulfil the promises made to the people of the state.

"The centre should stop being stubborn and withdraw the farm laws with immediate effect. The farmers are feeling insecure about their future. They are very concerned, Pilot told reporters in Pali.

He said the executive of the state unit of the Congress will be announced in December and political appointments will take place in January.

AICC (All India Congress Committee) general secretary in-charge for Rajasthan Ajay Maken has said several times that the executive of the PCC (Pradesh Congress Committee) will be announced in December and political appointments will take place in January in the state," he said.

"The objective of all of us is to make the organisation and the government stand up to the expectation of people and we are working in that direction, he added.

Dec 24, 2020 - 18:17 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

Punjab farm labourer cycles 370 kms for 2 days to join protests at Singhu

"I had to reach Singhu because if the farm legislations are not repealed, I will lose my livelihood," claimed Sukhpal Bajwa, a farm labourer from Punjab who cycled 370 kms for two days to reach Delhi to support the farmers' agitation against the Centre's new agri laws.

Standing by his cycle, the 36-year-old from Punjab Moga's district said he could have taken a bus or a train to Delhi, but that could mean his family would have to go hungry.

"What can I do when I don't own a vehicle. I am a daily-wager and can barely make ends meet by working in a farm. Bus or train would have been expensive, I thought it is better if my family spends that money on their food," Bajwa told PTI.

The journey was tough and "this was also the first time that I travelled this far all alone, completing over 370 kms from my village in Moga", he said, adding that it took him two days, with a few breaks, to reach the Delhi (Singhu) border, whereas in a motor vehicle, the same distance would have taken around six hours.

Bajwa said on the way, one of his cycle's tyres got punctured late in the night on December 18 and it delayed his travel.

Dec 24, 2020 - 18:03 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

Haryana Dy CM says farm laws need amendments, urges farmers to give concrete suggestion

Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala on Thursday said the new central farm laws need many amendments and urged protesting farmers to give "concrete suggestions".

The Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) leader reiterated that he will tender his resignation the day he feels he is unable to ensure minimum support price (MSP) to farmers in Haryana.

Addressing a press conference here, the deputy chief minister said, "I believe that many amendments should be there. On this, we have given many suggestions to the Centre earlier and they too were agreeable on many suggestions."

"I think the Centre is ready to incorporate those amendments," he added. At another point in the briefing, Chautala said the Centre was repeatedly inviting the farmer unions to talks, and it was the responsibility of these outfits to give "concrete suggestions" regarding their demands.

He hoped that the protesting farmers resume dialogue with the Centre to resolve their concerns over the three new laws.

-PTI

Dec 24, 2020 - 17:38 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

PM's accusations of Opposition 'lying' to farmers 'baseless', say Opposition parties

Opposition party leaders have termed the allegations made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has accused the parties of lying to the farmers, as "baseless", stating that such accusations are a "complete travesty of truth".

In a joint statement on Thursday, Congress, NCP, DMK, PAGD, RJD, SP, CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML), AIFB and RSP leaders expressed their solidarity with the protesting farmers.

"PM must stop baseless accusations, repeal farm laws. We, the undersigned, register our strong protest against the baseless allegations being made by Prime Minister Modi, accusing the opposition parties of "repeatedly lying" to the farmers about the new farm laws and using them for their politics. The Prime Minister's accusations are a complete travesty of truth.

"We, the undersigned, have expressed our solidarity with the protesting farmers. The call for this ongoing historic struggle was given by more than 500 kisan organisations from all over the country under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM). Many of us had opposed these agri laws when they were being enacted in Parliament without discussions or a proper consideration. MPs who sought a vote were suspended," the statement said.

Dec 24, 2020 - 17:20 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

Centre should listen to opposition parties: Chhagan Bhujbal

Issues can not be solved if Opposition is stopped from raising them, Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal said on Thursday after Congress leaders were detained in Delhi during a protest against farm laws, reports PTI.

Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and others were detained after they staged a sit-in protest as they were not allowed to march to Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Bhujbal, a senior NCP leader, said the Union government should listen to opposition parties when they raise any issue. "You don't listen to farmers. If opposition parties try to raise the issue you stop them. How will issues be solved then?" he asked.

He also wondered why Congress MPs and other leaders were stoppped from meeting the President.

Dec 24, 2020 - 16:41 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

Farmers from Baghpat have written letter in support of new laws, says Tomar

"Farmers from Baghpat have given me a letter in support of Centre's Farm Laws. They've told me that govt shouldn't buckle under any pressure to make amendments to Farm bills," Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar after meeting Kisaan Mazdoor Sangh members from Baghpat."Whatever Rahul Gandhi says, even Congress doesn't take it seriously. Today when he went to register his protest with President with signatures, these farmers told me that no one from Congress came to them to get their signature," he said.

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury later met President Ram Nath Kovind and demanded withdrawal of the three farm laws. "We told the president that the laws are anti-farmer and that farmers and labourers will suffer due to them. The government said these laws are in favour of the farmers, but the country is seeing that farmers are against these laws," Rahul Gandhi said.

Delhi Jal Board (DJB) vice chairman and AAP MLA Raghav Chadha on Thursday claimed that BJP workers vandalised his office and attacked staff members at the board's headquarters at Jhandewalan in Delhi.

Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala on Thursday said the new central farm laws need many amendments and urged protesting farmers to give "concrete suggestions".

In a joint statement, Opposition parties supporting farmers said that they have registered their 'strong protest against baseless allegations made by the Centre

A group of 60 farmers from the Kisaan Majdoor Sangh met Narendra Singh Tomar at Krishi Bhawan in Delhi on Thursday and wrote a letter addressed to the Centre, extending their support to the new farm laws

Around 20,000 members of the farmers union Kisan Sena will be marching to Delhi from Western Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, 24 December, in support of farm laws.

The Centre on Thursday once again wrote to farmer unions asking them to decide the date and time for the next round of talks over the three farm laws. "Govt is committed to reaching logical solutions of the issues raised by you," the letter read

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Ghulam Nabi Azad met President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday and sought withdrawal of the recently-enacted farm laws. Gandhi said the Opposition stands with the farmers who have been camping at Delhi’s borders for over a month now, demanding repeal of the legislations.

Earlier, Gandhi had attempted to lead a delegation of Congress leaders to the Rashtrapati Bhavan but was stopped by the Delhi Police. Several leaders including general secretaries Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and K C Venugopal, and senior leader Randeep Singh Surjewala,were also detained.

Around 20,000 members of the Kisan Sena, meanwhile, will march from western Uttar Pradesh to Delhi to support the Centre’s farm laws.

Braving the harsh cold, thousands of agitating farmers at the Delhi borders on Thursday remained steadfast in their demands to repeal the Centre's three new agri laws.

Dense fog reduced visibility to just 100 metres in parts of Delhi on Thursday, affecting traffic movement, the India Meteorological Department said, adding the minimum temperature at the Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative data for the city, settled at 4.5 degrees Celsius.

Security remained tight at the Delhi borders with hundreds of personnel deployed at Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri as thousands of farmers have been staging their protests at the borders for nearly a month now. This has also led to traffic congestion forcing police to divert vehicular movement.

Taking to Twitter on Thursday, the Delhi Traffic Police alerted commuters about the routes that remained closed owing to farmers' agitation and suggested them to take alternative roads.

"The Chilla, Ghazipur borders are closed for traffic coming from Noida & Ghaziabad to Delhi because of farmer protests. People are advised to take alternate route for coming to Delhi via Anad Vihar, DND, Apsara,bhopra& Loni borders," it said in a tweet.

In another tweet, police said Singhu, Auchandi, Piau Maniyari, Saboli and Mangesh borders are closed.

"Pl take alternate routes via Lampur, Safiabad, Palla & Singhu school toll tax borders. Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba & GTK road. Pl avoid Outer Ring Rd, GTK road & NH 44," the traffic police mentioned.

On Wednesday, the protesting farmers hardened their position and asked the government not to repeat the proposal of "meaningless" amendments that they have already rejected but come up with a "concrete" offer in writing for the resumption of talks.

Reading out a reply to the government's talks offer during a press conference, farmer leaders said they are ready for dialogue with an open mind if they get a concrete proposal, but made it clear they will not accept anything less than a complete repeal of the three agriculture laws and legal guarantee for the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

The sixth round of talks on December 9 was cancelled following a deadlock with the farmer unions refusing to budge from their demand for repealing the three laws.

Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the central government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of MSP and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

The government has repeatedly asserted that the MSP and mandi systems will stay and has accused the Opposition of misleading the farmers.

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