Bahadurgarh (Har), Feb 12 (PTI) BKU's Rakesh Tikait on Friday said the farmers protesting at Delhi's borders over the farm laws will not return home until an agreement is reached and another union leader said they are ready to talk if the Centre comes up with a proposal.
It was not immediately clear if Tikait’s remark at a 'mahapanchayat' here was a climb down from his earlier assertion that there will be no “ghar wapsi” unless the laws are withdrawn.
The government has been telling farmer unions to consider an option other than the complete repeal of the laws.
Tikait also revealed plans by farmer leaders to hold meetings in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state Gujarat.
Tikait said the government will have to talk with the farmer unions' committee spearheading the agitation against the laws.
“This agitation will continue until the Government of India talks to the committee and arrives at an agreement. Till that time, farmers will not return home,” he said addressing a “mahapanchayat” organised by the “Dalal Khap 84”near the Tikri border.
Darshan Pal, a key leader of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, a body of farmer unions leading the protest, told reporters that if the government comes up with a concrete proposal, they are ready to talk.
However, Pal and Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni said the government is not showing seriousness after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said they were just a 'phone call away'.
“The government may say they are just a phone call away but they should come with some proposal. Tell us time and place. We are ready; we have no problem,” Pal told reporters after the “mahapanchayat”.
Chaduni said, 'We went 11 times earlier. We are ready to go for talks for 12th time. But the government should not crack a joke when it says it is just a phone call away, we cannot see that in reality”.
Pal took a dig at the PM's “andolanjeevi” remarks, and said, 'It is such a big agitation, which is being supported from people across country, but we were dubbed as anolanjeevis.. they are saying such things in Parliament, this shows their non-seriousness.” “Their love is not for fellow countrymen but for big corporates,” said Pal without naming anyone but directing his attack at the government.
Darshan Pal said the PM has said the “MSP was there, is and will remain'. 'But where is the MSP in Bihar, in MP,' he asked.
'In Punjab, the MSP is on wheat and paddy. There should be legal guarantee on the MSP,' he said.
Chaduni said the claims of the government about the MSP are misleading.
“They are procuring only that much as is needed for the PDS,” he said.
Earlier in his address, Chaduni asked the government to release the farmers arrested in the wake of violence in Delhi on January 26, saying they should not be compelled to take any such step which creates problem later.
In his address, Darshan Pal asked the gathering, “In Punjab, the SAD had withdrew support from the NDA. Farmer friends of Haryana, are you ready to bring down the BJP-JJP government or not?” In his address, Tikait alleged that farmers from Gujarat were being pressured not to lend support to the agitation.
“If anyone from Gujarat wants to come here to support the agitation and if it is found they are coming, police are being sent to their homes,” he alleged, adding that they will hold meetings in Gujarat and other states.
Tikait also said the “business on hunger” will not be allowed and those wanting it will be “driven out” of the country.
Hitting out at the farm laws, he claimed these will lead to the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) and exploitation of farmers, from whom big companies will procure their produce at cheaper rates and then store it in godowns.
Big godowns will be built, which will be barricaded on similar lines like the ones near the protest sites at the Delhi borders, he said.
Without naming anyone, he said attempts have been made to divide the farmers' stir.
'They tried to divide us on the lines of Punjab and Haryana, then small and big farmers, he said.
“We have said that the three laws are not acceptable to farmers and should be rolled back. But how will they take back these when godowns were built first and laws were framed later,” he said.
“They did business of temple, religion and feelings. Now, they want to do the business on hunger,” Tikait alleged. PTI SUN VSD ASH RDK RDK