Ahead of the seventh round of talks between the government and farmer unions over agriculture reform laws, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday said that he is hoping for a "positive outcome". Speaking to media as he left for Vigyan Bhawan, the Agriculture Minister said that all the issues will be discussed.
"All the issues will be discussed today. I am hopeful that we will find a positive solution today. Every time I think that we will find a solution and with that hope, I go to negotiate with the farmers," Narendra Singh Tomar said.
Meanwhile, Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) Spokesperson Rakesh Tikait visited a temple in Delhi before the scheduled talks.
Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait goes to a temple in Delhi before yet another round of talks with the government on farm laws pic.twitter.com/KcNjHWUXTh— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) January 4, 2021
"I went to the temple because I fast on Mondays. Prayed for good sense (sadhbuddhi) for the government. We want that PM should not make incorrect statements. We also want live telecast of the talks, let all see that we haven't agreed to any pointers government has put," Tikait said.
ANI sources in the government said that with two demands of farmers' unions -- Repeal of the three farm laws and legalisation of Minimum Support Price (MSP) -- left unresolved, the Centre is likely to discuss farm laws clause by clause as it did initially before the MSP issue. The exercise was done by the government earlier to understand the objections of farmers against the laws.
"While the government is ready to work with farmers on the issue of MSP, it needs to ask farmers about their demand for the repeal of three farm laws. MSP will be relevant only when the government can discuss laws with farmers and convince them of these being in their well-being," stated the source.
Sources in the know of the matter also informed that the unions too, have differences on the priority of these demands. "There are few who believe if MSP is legalised, laws can be discussed. However, there are also those who only talk of the repeal of these laws," stated the source. It is also informed that the government is willing to work on MSP only when unions give up the demand for the repeal of these laws.
After five rounds of inconclusive talks, the government and 40 farmer unions reached some common ground during the sixth round of negotiations on December 30 to resolve protesting farmers' concerns over the rise in power tariff and penalties for stubble burning.