Farmer leaders walk out of meeting with Agriculture Secretary

Union Agriculture Minister should have met the delegation, says one of them

A delegation of farmer leaders from Punjab walked out of a meeting with Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal at Krishi Bhavan on Wednesday.

The meeting was held to discuss the widespread protests in Punjab over the controversial agricultural marketing laws passed last month.

“The Secretary was trying to give them some gyaan about the supposed benefits of the new laws. The leaders stood up and said that BJP leaders are roaming all over Punjab, spreading propaganda, but they do not have time to meet us here in Delhi,” said Avik Saha, convenor of the Jai Kisan Andolan, whose Punjab unit is among the protesting unions.

“Then they walked out of the meeting. On the one hand, they want to explain benefits, but on the other hand, they are not really interested in resolving the issue,” he added, noting that Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was not available to meet the farmer leaders.

The dialogue has failed as the Central government is not serious on the issue of farmers, said Jagjit Singh Dallewal, state president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union-Ekta, who was part of the delegation.

Mr. Dallewal said that the Union Agriculture Minister should have talked to the farmers instead of the Secretary, adding that if Union Ministers are serious about the talks, then they should have talked to the representatives of all the farmers’ groups present in Chandigarh. Instead, a delegation of Union Ministers is engaged in efforts to mislead the farmers in Punjab, he said.

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