NEW DELHI: Congress on Saturday urged the government to abandon its “stubborn attitude” and accept demands from farmers protesting new farm laws in cold weather conditions.
Congress Secretary-General Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said reports of the deaths of farmers as they demonstrated at the Delhi border in harsh winter conditions were “disturbing”.
“According to media reports, 57 farmers lost their lives as scores did not go well. The government is showing flagrant insensitivity in failing to comply with the demands of the protesting farmers,” said the secretary general of Congress and his responsible for Uttar Pradesh.
Reacting to a media report that a protesting farmer committed suicide, Chief Congressman Randeep Surjewala said in a tweet: “After Sant Baba Ram Singh of Karnal (Haryana) and Amarjeet Singh of Fazlika ( Punjab), the news of Kashmir Singh from Bilaspur (Uttarakhand) sacrificing life in the farmers’ movement is very distressing. “
“The ruthless government should abandon its stubborn attitude and immediately withdraw the three black laws,” Surjewala said in the Hindi tweet.
Top Congressman and former Union Minister P Chidambaram praised the farmers’ determination.
“The government must give in and agree to keep agricultural laws in abeyance pending its repeal. Any new law must take into account the needs and wants of the farming community,” he tweeted.
After the sixth round of formal negotiations on Wednesday, the government and farm unions reached common ground to resolve concerns of protesting farmers over rising electricity tariffs and penalties for stubble burning, but the two parties remained deadlocked on the main contentious issues of the repeal of three agricultural laws and a legal guarantee of minimum support prices (MSP).
ALSO LOOK:Braving the cold, thousands of farmers, mainly from the Punjab and Haryana, have been demonstrating at various borders of the national capital for more than a month against these three new laws.
The government has touted the laws as major agricultural reforms aimed at helping farmers and increasing their incomes, but protesting unions fear the new laws will leave them at the mercy of big business by weakening the MSP and mandi systems.