As Indian Farmers Hold Mega Council, BJP Lawmaker Calls for Talks to Restart
13:32 GMT 05.09.2021 (Updated: 10:39 GMT 19.07.2022)
Since November, thousands of farmers have been protesting against the three controversial farm laws passed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. Farmers have been demanding that the laws - which they fear will do away with the Minimum Support of Price (MSP) system and leave them at the mercy of big corporations - be repealed.
BJP parliamentarian Varun Gandhi on Sunday said that his party should respectfully resume talks
with farmers and "work with them to reach common ground".
Gandhi made the remarks after hundreds of thousands of farmers from 15 Indian states gathered on Sunday in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district to protest against three agricultural laws
passed by the federal government last year.
Farmers participated in a Kisan Mahapanchayat, or a farmer congregation, convened by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a coalition of more than 40 Indian farmers' unions, which has also been managing protests on the borders of Delhi for several months.
The vast gathering comes as the state of Uttar Pradesh is gearing up for its local elections which are due to be held in six months. At present, the state is led by the BJP and its chief is Yogi Adityanath.
"We pledge that we will not leave the protest site [at Delhi's borders] even if it should become our graveyard," farmer leader Rakesh Tikait said from his platform. "We will lay down our lives if need be but will not leave the protest until we emerge victorious."
General secretary of the opposition Congress party, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
, who is a cousin of Varun Gandhi and sister of Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi, expressed her support for the farmers.
"Farmers are the voice and pride of this country," she tweeted in Hindi.
"No government's pride stands a chance in front of the farmers' clarion call. The entire country is with the farmers in their fight to save the agriculture sector and win their rights," her tweet reads.
There have already been 11 rounds of talks between farmers and the government but, so far, each has resulted in stalemate.