Amarinder Singh to meet farmer unions today

Amarinder Singh to meet farmer unions today

With a rail blockade by Punjab farmers completing nearly two months, all eyes are now on a meeting between Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and representatives of 30 farmer unions that is scheduled to be held Saturday in Chandigarh.

Union leaders will gather for deliberations among themselves at 10.30 am at Kisan Bhawan before meeting the CM at Punjab Bhawan in the afternoon. The meeting with the CM also comes days ahead of Delhi Chalo protest on November 26-27, which will see participation of around 500 farm outfits from across the country including those from Punjab.

Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of BKU(Dakaunda), said, “We will have a meeting of 30 organisations ahead of meeting with CM on Saturday in which we will decide as who all will be the spokespersons and what matter needs to be discussed with the CM.”

Ahead of the meeting, Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar Friday appealed to farmers organisations to lift rail blockade in the interest of the state and its people.

Jakhar said the farmers had got an unprecedented support but this has put a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.

“The responsibility of carrying everybody along rests on their shoulders now. Why are we lighting up our own house to stave off the cold. By sticking to their stand and not carrying everybody along, they are undermining their own support base. The industry is suffering. The fertiliser has not reached the farmers. There are so many issues. They should be wary of BJP’s divide and rule policy,” he said.

He added that the next Assembly election in Punjab should be taken as a referendum on Centre’s farm laws.

Responding to a question that the party feared that the Centre would dismiss the state government in Punjab, Jakhar said, “We are not keen to hang on to power. We are not like Akali Dal.”

Who will blink first?

Farmers have been protesting against Centre’s farm laws and blocking trains since September 24. Earlier, farmers had agreed to allow goods trains to run, but Centre had said it would run both freight and passenger services together.

The deadlock between farmers and the Centre was on till Friday, with farmers asking Centre to restore goods trains traffic first and they would allow the passenger trains to run the next day. The Centre has, however, dug its heels.

After their meeting with Union Ministers before Diwali, the state government was expecting the farmers to announce complete lifting of blockade on train tracks. But during the meeting of 30 farm organisations in Chandigarh on Wednesday, as many as 14 organisations were in favour of allowing all the trains, but 16 organisations were against it stating that the Centre should blink first.

The farmers then announced that they would not allow passenger trains till Centre runs goods trains first.

After the November 13 meeting between Centre and farmers, it was said that another round of talks between the two sides will be held on November 21. Farmer organisations now say that they received no invitation for further talks from the Union government. “We got no invitation from Centre for Saturday’s meeting although there were verbal talks for the same being held,” said Jagmohan Patiala.

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