Leaders of the protesting farmers refused the lunch offered by the Centre at Vigyan Bhavan on Thursday. Instead, they ate the lunch they had brought along with them, wrapped in foil.
When their meeting with the Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Piyush Goyal broke for lunch, they chose to eat the food they had brought from the protest sites. A small van carrying food for around 40 people was seen outside Vigyan Bhavan. Visuals from inside showed the farmer representatives assembled at a long table for a hurried lunch. Some sat on the ground in a corner.
In a nearly three-hour-long meeting in New Delhi, the Union ministers offered to form a five-member committee to look into issues raised by farmers, but it was rejected by the agitating groups. The fourth-round of talks began around noon amid ongoing protests by farmers seeking repeal of the laws. However, the issue is still unresolved.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh met Union Home Minister Amit Shah ahead of the farmers’ meeting on Thursday and requested Shah to resolve the issue as it affects the economy of Punjab and security of the country.
Farmer leaders asked the government to focus on resolving the issues instead of trying to be a good host by offering lunch.
Lok Sangharsh Morcha president Pratibha Shinde said the representatives of farmers didn’t accept the lunch offered by the government and that they arranged it from the Singhu border. When the fellow farmers’ are protesting on the road how can they have lunch offered by the government, Sindhe said.
On December 1, the Centre had attempted to break the ice with the farmers in a marathon meeting with representatives of 35 farmer unions but couldn’t end the deadlock. Earlier, farmers rejected the Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s proposal to shift to the Burari grounds and hold talks.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been holding sit-ins on the borders of the capital for over the past one week demanding that the recently-enacted agriculture acts be scrapped.