Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Sunday that the Central government is ready to hold open-minded dialogue with farmers organisations on all issues, except for the repeal of the farm laws that the farmers have been protesting against.
ANI quoted Tomar as saying, "Most of the farmers and experts are in favour of farm laws. After Supreme Court's order, the laws can't be implemented. Now we expect that farmers discuss the laws clause-wise on January 19 and tell government what they want other than the repeal of the laws. There is no question of being stubborn."
The news agency reported the minister saying, "We had sent a proposal to farmer unions in which we agreed to address their apprehensions regarding mandis, traders' registration and other issues. The government also agreed to discuss laws on stubble burning and electricity, but unions only want repeal of the laws."
A stalemate between the government and farmers unions continued as a ninth round of talks on Friday failed to reach a consensus.
The minister said in a statement that the government was hopeful that the farmers organisations would discuss each and every clause on January 19. "If the objections of the unions seem justified in the provision-wise discussion, the government can move forward on considering and amending the matter," Tomar said.
Tomar's remarks come even as he was seen eating langar along with people of the Sikh community while on a train from New Delhi to his home constituency of Morena in Madhya Pradesh.
The government on Friday asked protesting farmers to form an informal group to prepare a concrete proposal about their objections and suggestions on the three farm laws for further discussion on January 19. The unions, however, have remained steadfast on their main demand of a complete repeal of the three laws.
Tomar had told farmer leaders at the meeting on Friday that the government was flexible in its approach and urged the same from them. Incidentally, the tenth round of talks has been scheduled for a day when a Supreme Court-appointed committee to resolve the impasse is also likely to hold its first meeting.
Meanwhile, on Monday the apex court is likely to hear a petition against a tractor rally call given by the protesting farmers for the Republic Day on January 26.