Punjab BJP Leaders Meet Amit Shah Ahead Of Tuesday's Talks With Farmers

Tens of thousands of farmers across the country - led by those from Punjab - are protesting against three agriculture laws that the centre says will reform the sector

Punjab BJP leader Surjit Jyani met PM Modi earlier this week and Home Minister Amit Shah Thursday

New Delhi:

Punjab BJP leader Surjit Kumar Jyani on Thursday hit out at "stubborn" farmers - who are protesting the centre's agriculture laws over fears they will be exploited by corporate firms - accusing them of an ulterior motive in not wanting to resolve the months-long stand-off. "I think farmer unions don't want a solution. I think their plan is something else," he was quoted by news agency ANI.

The former state minister was speaking after two party colleagues - Harjit Singh Grewal and Vijay Sampla - and he met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi. Two days ago Mr Jyani and Mr Grewal also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"The government is ready to fulfil all demands... but stubborn farmers are now saying the laws (must) be repealed. Why are they saying that? I think farmer unions don't want a solution. I think their plan is something else," Mr Jyani declared after the meeting with Amit Shah.

"Law and order in Punjab is ruined...sit-in protests are being done outside houses of our workers. The language being used and the kind of hooliganism... we talked about it," he added.

Thursday evening's meeting with Mr Shah came a day before the centre is to hold a fresh round of talks with the protesting farmers to try and defuse a tense situation that has seen thousands set up camp around the national capital, hold a nationwide bandh and two hunger strikes.

The protest has been widely seen as being led by farmers from Punjab, where Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is a fierce and vocal critic of the laws. Yesterday he urged Prime Minister Modi to "bring in new laws after consultation with farmers" and resolve the situation.

The protest in Punjab also made headlines last month after hundreds of mobile telecom towers (many of which belonged to Reliance Jio) were vandalised by irate farmers.

Mr Singh has directed the police to take action against the guilty, but the incident also fueled further criticism of his government by the BJP. The opposition party said he had lost control of law and order and labelled the protesting farmers "urban naxals".

A furious Mr Singh called the comments "downright foolish and petty" and advised the BJP to concentrate on law and order and policy-making in Delhi, where, he said, "misdirected action (and) bad policy" had led to the farmers' protests being "mishandled".

Tens of thousands of farmers across the country are protesting against three agriculture laws that the centre says will reform the sector. The centre says these laws will help farmers eliminate middlemen and sell at markets and prices of their choice.

The farmers fear the laws will rob them of MSPs (minimum support price) and, by dismantling government-controlled mandis, or wholesale markers, leave them at the mercy of the corporates.

Multiple rounds of talks have failed to yield a breakthrough, with the farmers insisting on a legal guarantee for MSP and that the laws be scrapped. The centre has said the laws will remain, but has offered to form a committee to study other grievances.

Last month Amit Shah met with some farmers leaders in Delhi but that meeting too also failed.

The next round of talks is scheduled for Tuesday at 2 pm.

With input from ANI, PTI