Union ministers to hold talks with farmer bodies on Nov 13, claims BJP leader

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Chandigarh, Nov 9 (PTI) Senior Punjab BJP leader Surjit Kumar Jyani on Monday claimed that three Union ministers, including Rajnath Singh, will hold talks talks with farmer bodies protesting against the central farm laws on November 13 at Delhi.

Jyani told reporters that the invite to the farmers' bodies is expected to be sent by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday.

He said besides Tomar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal will meet farmers' representatives.

A three-member Punjab BJP delegation, led by Jyani, on Sunday met Rajnath Singh and Narendra Singh Tomar in Delhi and apprised them of the situation in the state.

The delegation had said that the Union ministers were ready to hold talks with the farmers' bodies.

Last month, representatives of several farmers' organisations from Punjab had walked out of a meeting called by the Union agriculture ministry and accused the government of adopting double standards with no minister present to hear them out.

Farmers in Punjab have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the 'mercy' of big corporates.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in a statement appealed to the farmers' bodies to completely lift their rail blockade to allow passenger trains in view of the “initiative” taken by Centre to discuss their issues.

The CM urged the farmer organisations to take note of the Centre's move to hold talks with them and also take into account the inconvenience being caused to lakhs of Punjabis, including soldiers, who are unable to come home for Diwali due to the suspension of trains.

Ending the rail blockade will facilitate these soldiers and others to join their families in the celebrations, he said.

Amarinder Singh expressed hope that the talks convened by the Centre, scheduled for November 13 as per some media reports, would pave the way for early resolution of the crisis triggered by the central legislations on agriculture. The move indicated that the Centre was open to finding an amicable solution to the problems facing the farmers in the wake of the enactment of these laws, he said.

The farmers' anger had clearly reached the central government, which seemed to be finally prepared to hear them out, said the CM.

Now that the message that they wanted to communicate through their blockade had reached the Centre, the unions should step back from their agitation and join the talks with the spirit of resolving the issue, he said.

Amarinder Singh said he was confident that the unions would now respond by supporting efforts to ease the situation in the larger interest of all stakeholders. The only solution to the imbroglio caused by the central legislations lay in peaceful and amicable talks between all concerned, he said, urging the farmer unions to respond with a positive approach. PTI CHS VSD RDK RDK