Farmer leaders refused government's offer for chai, or tea, during a break between the fourth round of talks amid an ongoing protest seeking repeal of the new farm laws on Thursday. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, who is an MP from Punjab, are holding talks with the representatives of 35 farmers' unions at the Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital.
During a break in the afternoon, the farmer leaders rejected tea offered by the government. They instead had 'langar' sent by a gurudwara for the farmers.
#WATCH | Delhi: Farmer leaders have food during the lunch break at Vigyan Bhawan where the talk with the government is underway. A farmer leader says, "We are not accepting food or tea offered by the government. We have brought our own food". pic.twitter.com/wYEibNwDlX— ANI (@ANI) December 3, 2020
Earlier on Tuesday, farmer union leaders had turned down Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar's offer for tea during a marathon meeting. They, infact, went on to invited Tomar to their protest side and offered to serve him "jalebi" and "pakoda" along with tea at their langar (community kitchen).
"Tomar Saheb requested us to have tea during the break between the meeting, but we in return extended him an invitation to accompany us to our protest site where we are serving tea along with jalebi and pakodas in langar. This led to laughter all around," Jamhuri Kisan Sabha's Kulwant Singh Sandhu had said.
On December 1, talks between farmers and the government ended in a stalemate. The farmers' groups rejected the government's suggestion of a new committee to look into issues raised by farmers protesting against the new laws.
The government had rejected the demand for repealing the laws and asked the farmers' bodies to identify specific issues related to the newly enacted Acts and submit those by December 2 for consideration and discussion on Thursday.
Enacted in September, the laws have been presented by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector by removing middlemen and allowing farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have been worried that the new laws will eliminate the safety cushion of a Minimum Support Price (MSP) and procurement system, while rendering ineffective the mandi system that ensures earnings for various stakeholders in the farm sector.
On Wednesday, agitating farmers demanded that the Centre convene a special session of Parliament and repeal the new farm laws as they threatened to block roads in Delhi and "take more steps" if it failed to do so.