- Yogendra Yadav today joined protesting farmers at Delhi-Jaipur highway
- PM needs to think about welfare of farmers and repeal laws, Mr Yadav said
- "We will not leave until the laws are withdrawn," he added
Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav today joined protesting farmers at a rally on the Delhi-Jaipur highway, which has been partially blocked, and criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for offering a "gift" that farmers don't want.
Mr Yadav said the fail negotiations between the government and farmers, who want new farm laws to be withdrawn, was due to the centre's unwillingness to understand the farmers' demand.
"It's a strange negotiation. They are forcing a gift, which is unwanted in the first place. The Prime Minister says it's a historic gift, but farmers don't want it," Mr Yadav told NDTV, referring to the new farm laws that the government maintains will empower farmers and allow them more freedom to sell anywhere they like.
"Then the Prime Minister says, 'We will change the wrapping of the gift.' But farmers are still saying they don't want it. The Prime Minister needs to think about the welfare of farmers and repeal the laws," Mr Yadav said. "We will not leave until the laws are withdrawn," he added.
In several rounds of negotiations with the farmer leaders, the government had offered to amend the laws and even give in writing that they would keep their word. But the farmers have stuck to nothing less than complete withdrawal of the laws that they say harm their interests, especially financial stability when it comes to minimum support price and the mandi system.
Thousands of farmers have been camping on the outskirts of Delhi since late November.
The Delhi-Jaipur highway has been partially opened - only Delhi to Jaipur side allowed - after a three-hour closure that started as farmers began a tractor march from Shahjahanpur on the Rajasthan-Haryana border today. A highway was opened as farmers removed blockade from the Delhi-Noida border at Chilla.
"We have not blocked the roads. It's a consequence of the fact that the police blocked us by placing barriers. We are simply trying to go to Delhi to get the government listen to us," Mr Yadav told NDTV.