Amit Shah to focus on talks with farmer unions

14th June,2021

Amit Shah to focus on talks with farmer unions



Union home minister Amit Shah may take the initiative to allow the restart of conversation between the Centre and the farmer unions, in an effort to break the long-standing standoff with protesting farmers from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh who have been camped at Delhi's borders for over six months. According to sources, while the home minister may not directly meet with farmers, this could be handled largely by agriculture minister Narendra Tomar and railway and commerce minister Piyush Goyal, Mr Shah could hold back-channel talks with farmers to break the impasse and bring the two sides back to the negotiating table.The talks between the Centre and the protesting farmers hit a snag in January of this year, when the two sides were unable to achieve an agreement after 11 rounds of discussion. While the Centre agreed to put the three contentious agricultural reform laws on hold for almost two years, and even agreed to make all of the adjustments to the laws that farmers had objected to, the agitating farmer unions insisted on a complete repeal of the law.There have been no talks between the two sides since January, yet top government sources now say that back-channel conversations have begun in an attempt to break the impasse. According to sources, the home minister had a comprehensive meeting with the farmers last year, and his current judgement is that the two parties should resume talks. Farmers' unrest has a significant political component, as elections to the vital Uttar Pradesh and Punjab Assemblies are coming up in the coming months. Farmers from Punjab and western Uttar Pradesh have been at the forefront of this movement, and the BJP is concerned that if the matter is not resolved, it will suffer political consequences in both states.According to the sources, the interior minister might play a key role in melting the ice between the Centre and the farmers' unions in the coming days, bringing them to the bargaining table. According to sources, a few senior officials were in contact with some of the farmers' leaders, and discussions were going well to find a solution.