Farmers' protest: Unions defer tractor march to 7 Jan; BJP leaders from Punjab meet Modi in Delhi

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notices to the Punjab govt and the Centre on a plea filed by Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, seeking action against 'miscreants' damaging its telecom infrastructure

FP Staff January 05, 2021 20:47:12 IST
Farmers' protest: Unions defer tractor march to 7 Jan; BJP leaders from Punjab meet Modi in Delhi

Farmers take cover from the rain during their protest against the farm laws at Singhu border. PTI

BJP leaders from Punjab on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi a day after seventh round of negotiations with farmers to convince them in favour of the three new farm laws drew a blank.

On the other hand, the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha on Tuesday called for a meeting at the Singhu border to decide on the future course of action for the protests against the farm laws as the govetnment has shown no interest in repealing the laws, one of the key demands of the protesting farmers.

Camping at Delhi borders for over a month now, protesting farmers seem undeterred in the face of severe cold, rains and waterlogging, and firm on their demands which include repeal of farm laws and legal backing for Minimum Support Price even as talks with the government remained inconclusive.

The farmer unions have so far stuck to their demand for a complete repeal of the new farm laws they find pro-corporate, while the government has been wanting to discuss only "problematic" clauses or other alternatives. The two sides will meet again on 8 January.

Meanwhile, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notices to the Punjab government and the Centre on a plea filed by Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, seeking action against "miscreants" damaging its telecom infrastructure and forcibly closing its stores in the state.

BJP leaders from Punjab meet PM Modi

BJP leaders from Punjab on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid protests by farmers at Delhi's borders. BJP leaders Surjit Kumar Jyani, who is also a former Punjab minister, and Harjit Singh Grewal met the prime minister at his residence.

Jyani was chairing the BJP's Kisan Coordination Committee for interacting with farmers in Punjab last year on the three farm bills which at that time had not been passed by Parliament.

Grewal was also a member of the committee.

Talking to PTI, Grewal said their meeting with Prime Minister Modi was about Punjab related issues but did not specify further.

Farmers defer 6 Jan tractor march to 7 Jan

Protesting farmer unions on Tuesday deferred their proposed tractor march from 6 January to 7 January due to a bad weather forecast, even as they asserted they will intensify their stir in the coming days.

Addressing a press conference at Singhu Border, union leaders said thousands of farmers will take out the tractor march from all protest sites to the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) on 7 January.

Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav said the decision to defer the march was taken over the forecast of bad weather conditions on Wednesday.

The city has been receiving rains sporadically over the past three days.

The unions said the agitation against the three agriculture laws will be intensified in the coming days.

Talking about their other proposed tractor march to Delhi on 26 January, farmer leader Joginder Nain said, "We will send 10 tractor trollies from every village in Haryana. We request people to come — at least one from a house. and a total of 11 women from a village."

HC issues notices to Punjab govt, Centre

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Punjab government and the Centre on a petition filed by Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecom arm of Reliance Industries, seeking action against damage to its infrastructure in the state, PTI reported.

During the ongoing agitation by farmers against three new farm laws enacted by the Centre, over 1500 mobile towers in Punjab have been damaged.

Reliance Jio, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd, on Monday, submitted in its plea that "vested" interests are engaged in spreading "false rumours" against it and that the petitioner, its parent company and its affiliates had no plans to enter corporate or contract farming.

Justice Sudhir Mittal has issued a notice of motion for 8 February, according to Aashish Mittal, the counsel for Reliance Jio.

The company has made the state of Punjab through its chief secretary, Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Telecommunications and the Punjab Director General of Police as respondents in the matter.

Opposition accuses Centre of favouring 'wealthy people' over farmers

Meanwhile, Opposition parties continued to attack the Centre over the farm laws. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday accused the BJP of favouring wealthy people over farmers. Rahul Gandhi accused the Modi government of apathy towards the death of "over 60 farmers".

The government should shed its arrogance and repeal the agri laws against which farmers are protesting, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday.

Congress leader P Chidambaram in a tweet said: "Who is responsible for the failure of the 7th round of talks with the farmers and what is the reason? The reasons are the stubbornness of the central government and the arrogance of not admitting its mistake."

In a Hindi tweet, Akhilesh Yadav said, "The biggest problem with the BJP government is that it does not consider itself as a public representative (jan pratinidhi) but as wealth representative (dhan pratinidhi).

Hence, for the wealthy people, it is putting farmers' interest at stake, he said, adding that the BJP has forgotten that those whom it is causing harm constitute the two-third population of the country and never accept defeat.

Earlier too, the Samajwadi Party chief had accused the BJP of giving importance to its "capitalist friends" and said the farmers' protest against the new agriculture laws is an example of the government's "failure".

Assembly session to be convened to pass resolution against laws: Mamata

Continuing her tirade against the Centre over the new farm laws, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said arrangements would soon be made to convene an assembly session to pass a resolution against the contentious legislation.

With assembly polls knocking at the door, Banerjee also hinted that she was ready to implement the PM-Kisan scheme in Bengal, and said she had asked the Centre to share details of all those who have registered themselves on the Union government's portal for the programme.

Banerjee, however, asserted that said she would never allow the implementation of the three farm laws, which have sparked protests across the country.

"We are against those farm laws. We would soon convene an assembly session for a day or two and pass a resolution against the anti-farmer laws," Banerjee said.

Bengal, if it passes the resolution, would become the sixth state in the country to do so, after Kerala, Delhi, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

With inputs from PTI

(Disclaimer: Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd which publishes Firstpost)

 

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