Govt's stubborn stand responsible for deadlock with farmers: SKM

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Indore, Feb 14 (PTI) Holding the Centre's 'stubborn attitude' responsible for the deadlock over the new farm laws, Sanyukt Kisan Morcha's coordination panel member Shiv Kumar Sharma on Sunday said despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi's assurance in Parliament on holding talks with farmers, no date is conveyed by the government for the next round of talks.

The SKM, which is an umbrella body of 40 farmer organisations, has been steering the protests of farmers for the scrapping of the three agri marketing laws at borders of Delhi.

'The main reason for the deadlock on the new farm laws is the 'adiyal ravayya' (stubborn attitude) of the Centre. We have already held 12 rounds of talks with the government, but it is not yet ready to give a legal guarantee to farmers on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of crops,' said Sharma, popularly known as 'Kakkaji', who heads the Rashtriya Majdoor Mahasangh (RMS), a part of the SKM.

He told reporters at a press conference here that Prime Minister Narendra Modi repeatedly told Parliament that the door of the government is always open for talks with farmers.

'But we have neither been told by the government to enter this door, nor has any date been given or we invited for the next round of talks,' Sharma said.

Describing the three agri-marketing laws as a 'death warrant' for farmers, he said, 'If the government really cares to protect the interests of farmers, then it should accept our demand for the withdrawal of the new farm laws'.

Referring to recent tweets by American pop star Rihanna and Sweden's environmental activist Greta Thunberg in support of the farmers' movement and the tweets by cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and singer Lata Mangeshkar backing the government, Sharma said, 'we all are nationalists'.

'We will sort out the issue of new farm laws together with the government. We won't tolerate the interference of external powers in this matter,' he added.

Taking a potshot at Tendulkar, Sharma asked whether he had done any farming...What he knows about farmers? Sharma said 'mahapanchayats' will be held by farmers in every district of Madhya Pradesh against the new farm laws, beginning at Khargone on Monday.

'We will also start 'One village 20 farmers' ('Ek Gram-20 Kisan') campaign in Madhya Pradesh under which 20 peasants from each village (in MP) will be roped in for participation in the ongoing agitation at the borders of Delhi,' he added.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at three Delhi border points - Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur - for nearly 80 days, demanding a repeal of the three agri laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP). PTI HWP ADU NSK NSK