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Image depicting Punjab Farmers Protest: March Continues to Delhi

Punjab Farmers Protest: March Continues to Delhi


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In the midst of the Punjab Farmers Protest, let’s dive straight into the facts, shall we? The crux of the matter revolves around the farmers in Punjab who have unequivocally turned down the Centre’s proposition. This deal was to procure five specific crops at a minimum support price (MSP) for a solid five years, all under a contract system.

The farmers didn’t just sit back after this offer; they decided to reboot their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march, setting the date for February 21. Interestingly, the proposal that was laid out before the farmers seemed to veer off from what Union Minister Piyush Goyal had shared with the media post their discussions.

Minimum Support Price (MSP) Stand Off

At the heart of the Punjab Farmers Protest is a clear demand—a legal guarantee for MSP. Spearheading this movement are the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha and the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, umbrella organizations that represent roughly 200 farmers’ and farm laborer unions.

The response to the Centre’s five-year contract proposal for crops like maize, cotton, arhar/tur, masoor, and urad was a resounding rejection from both the SKM and the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan). The leaders from these groups have voiced their concerns, suggesting that the proposal might be an attempt to sidestep the core issue of MSP.

What’s more, there’s been a palpable frustration among the farmers, particularly about the nature of discussions—ones that only involved leaders from the SKM, which is non-political. Rakesh Tikait, a prominent figure in the SKM, made it clear that their protest targets government policies, not political entities.

The dialogue continued, with a fourth round of meetings in Chandigarh. Here, Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal laid out a roadmap, suggesting that government agencies like NCCF and NAFED could enter contracts to purchase produce from farmers at MSP. Additionally, a proposal for the Cotton Corporation of India to sign a five-year agreement with farmers was put forth.

Persistent Protests

Despite these discussions, the Centre has been urging the farmers to stand down from their protest, hopeful for a positive response. Goyal mentioned that some issues, including those around legal guarantees for MSP, would need broader consultations.

This series of meetings saw attendance from Union Ministers Arjun Munda, Piyush Goyal, and Nityanand Rai, alongside farmer leaders like Jagjit Singh Dallewal and Sarwan Singh Pandher. Punjab’s Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was also present.

Meanwhile, the protesting farmers from Punjab marked their seventh day camping near the Haryana state boundary. In a related development, former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, bringing up issues pertinent to Punjab, including the ongoing farmers’ protest.

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