Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to invite protesting farmers for talks and also demanded a special session of Parliament to revoke the three “black” agri laws.
The statement comes a day after farmers under the aegis of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha or SKM held a Bharat Bandh to demand repeal of the three laws. The SKM is an umbrella body of over 40 farm unions spearheading the agitation.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president urged PM Modi to “intervene personally, immediately and effectively,” and invite farmers for talks without preconditions to revoke the three “Black Acts” on agri-marketing.
Felicitating farmers of the country, especially those from Punjab and Haryana, for the “complete success” of the peaceful Bandh, Mr Badal said this should show the government that the people of the entire country stood solidly behind their ”annadata” (food provider).
In a statement, Mr Badal also urged the Prime Minister to convene a special session of Parliament to revoke the three Acts on agricultural marketing that have led the country to this “impasse”.
“If the government had heeded the SAD advice on the issue when the party not only voted against the Bills in Parliament but even quit the cabinet and broke the SAD-BJP alliance to protest against the three Acts, the situation today would have been different,” he said.
He said, “As a first step, the government must invite farmer organisations for talks without any precondition and without any further loss of time.”
The government and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks so far, the last being on January 22, to break the deadlock and end the farmers’ protest.
Talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on January 26.
The three laws – The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 – were passed by Parliament in September last year.
Farmer groups have alleged that these laws will end the ‘mandi’ and the MSP procurement systems and leave the farmers at the mercy of big corporates, even as the government has rejected these apprehensions as misplaced and asserted that these steps will help increase farmers’ income.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)