With Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik offering to mediate between the agitating farmers and the Centre, farmer leaders said on Tuesday they do need any mediation but the BJP government should listen to the “right-thinking people” in the party and resume the dialogue, which is stalled since January.
Mr Malik, who has been supporting the protesting farmers, on Sunday asserted he is ready to mediate if the Centre agrees to give a legal guarantee on the minimum support price (MSP) for crops.
“There is only one thing which will solve the entire issue. If the government agrees to give the MSP guarantee, I will mediate and convince the farmers,” Mr Malik had said at an event in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu on Sunday.
Kavitha Kuruganti of the Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) believes that the “right-thinking people” in BJP should continue to put pressure on the leadership to fulfill the farmers’ demands.
“I think that there is no mediation required between the farmers and the government. However, what right-thinking people in BJP should do is continue to put pressure on the party and its leadership for fulfilling the farmers’ demands,” Ms Kuruganti said.
She added that the refusal to fulfill the “legitimate, evidence-based demands” has no sound reasoning behind it.
“These farmer-friendly voices in the party should also make sure that the morality bar of the party does not slip so low that it is irretrievable. They should ensure that (Minister of State) Ajay Mishra Teni is sacked and arrested,” she said.
Echoing Ms Kuruganti’s opinion, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), a part of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) and an influential group in western UP, said that Mr Malik had offered support earlier as well but the BJP did not listen to him.
It was, however, ready for anyone to act as a mediator if the demands are met.
“We have two main demands. The bills must be taken back and a law made to ensure MSP for crops. Satya Pal Malik or anyone who thinks they can mediate (over) the issue are welcome,” BKU’s media in-charge Dharmendra Malik told PTI.
He added that Mr Malik, who hails from western Uttar Pradesh, had earlier also offered his advice to the Centre over the farmers’ issue but the BJP did not listen to him.
“Instead of listening to him, his own party made him the Governor of Meghalaya and sent him there,” Mr Malik added.
Farmer leader Abhimanyu Kohar of Bharatiya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh said that mediation would have helped if the government did not know their demands and about the situation.
“We don’t need mediation. The 11 rounds of talks we had with the government were without mediators and it’s not like they don’t know our demands. When they are clearly aware of our demands then it’s just them and us who need to sit down, talk and reach a decision,” Mr Kohar told PTI.
Farmers from different parts of the country have been camping at the Delhi borders since November 26 last year, demanding the repeal of the three central farm laws.
While the farmers have been expressing fear that the laws would do away with the Minimum Support Price system, leaving them at the mercy of the corporations, the government has been projecting them as major agricultural reforms.
With the last talk held on January 22, the 11 rounds of talks between the two parties have failed to break the deadlock.
The Supreme Court had in January suspended the implementation of the laws.
Another farmer leader, Shiv Kumar Kakka, the convener of Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, a constituent of Samyukta Kisan Morcha, also said that the government will never allow a mediator as it was adamant over not repealing the three farm laws.
“Governor Malik is a good man. He has supported farmers earlier as well. But the government will never allow a mediator because they don’t want to repeal the laws,” he said.