Centre has insulted farmers, says Ajit Pawar

“Why is it that the stalemate is not broken even after nine rounds of talks?”

As the impasse between the Centre and farmers protesting the contentious farm laws drags on, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar said on Monday that the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had “insulted farmers” by not yielding an inch despite nine rounds of parleys.

“The Centre’s apathy towards resolving farmers’ issues is evident in its attitude towards the protests against the new farm laws…why is it that even after a frustrating eight or nine rounds of talks, the stalemate is not being broken? Clearly, the Central government is not interested in understanding farmers’ problems,” said Mr. Pawar, ahead of a tenth round of parleys between the Centre and the protesters on Tuesday.

He said the three parties of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government — the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress — wholeheartedly supported the protesting farmers. “We [the NCP] will be joining in the ongoing farmers’ protests soon. Our chief Sharad Pawar has made it clear that the NCP stood firm with the agitating farmers,” said Mr. Pawar.

He was speaking at an event to mark the beginning of the ‘Agriculture Technology Week’ on Monday at Baramati’s Krishi Vigyan Kendra in the presence of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

Speaking on the results of the Gram Panchayat elections in the State, the Deputy Chief Minister said they were in favour of the MVA government. “The overall political picture in Maharashtra appears to be undergoing a big change after the results of the Legislative Council elections held last year. The Gram Panchayat results, too, seem to be in that direction.” He said that in most of places, the Congress, the NCP and the Sena had retained seats in their respective strongholds.

Of the six Legislative Council seats for which elections were held in December last year, the BJP won only one. The remaining constituencies were bagged by candidates of the ruling MVA.

On the Sena’s demand for renaming Aurangabad city as ‘Sambhajinagar’ and the fierce opposition from the Congress, Mr. Pawar said differences of opinion among the three constituents would be ironed out by their leaders.

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