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    Govt's offer best for farmers; hopeful that unions will reconsider it: Narendra Singh Tomar

    Synopsis

    The talks between the government and 41 protesting farm unions have remained inconclusive even after 11 rounds of discussions. During the 10th round of talks, the government had climbed down and offered a proposal to keep the new laws in abeyance for 1-1.5 years, but it was rejected by the unions.

    PTI
    New Delhi: A day before the tractor rally, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said he still hoped that the farmers’ agitation against the three central farm laws would end soon. “We expect farmer unions to reconsider our proposal of suspension of laws for 1.5 years and convey their decision to us soon. We will take the talks forward from there and reach amicable resolution through dialogue,” Tomar told ET on Monday.

    The minister said the farmers should have avoided the occasion of Republic Day to conduct the tractor rally. “Republic Day is a national festival with great importance. There should not be any agitation on this day. But now that they have decided to take out the rally, the onus will be on them also for carrying it out peacefully,” he said.

    He reiterated that there are some forces which don’t want a resolution, just to serve their interest.

    “Every time when there appears to be a consensus on a few points, talks again derail. Naturally there are elements who misguide farmers. But I am hopeful that a few unions who have constructive thoughts will come forward and we will resolve this problem,” said Tomar.

    He said the government had offered to suspend the laws despite being sure that the laws were perfect and would uplift farmers’ living standards.

    “Most of the farmers are supporting the Acts. There are very few who are protesting. But out of respect for them we offered to make some changes. We feel there should not be apprehension or confusion in the mind of any farmer about the laws,” said Tomar.

    The government seems to be under pressure moving into the budget session of Parliament with a deadlock, which may give the opposition an opportunity to corner the BJP, said people aware of the matter.

    Tomar, however, said: “We are in a democratic country where both the Houses have traditions. The budget session will be held smoothly following rich democratic traditions. Opposition should not use farmers’ shoulders to attack us.”

    In any case, the minister said, “even the opposition wanted to implement these reforms but did not have the guts to do so”. “They have no ground to oppose us. After the corona pandemic, the budget will be good for the growth of the country,” he said.
    ( Originally published on Jan 25, 2021 )
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