Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday said that it would be "inappropriate" to link the results of the municipal corporation elections in Punjab with the ongoing farmers' protests.
The minister further said that the government is still willing to talk to the farmers protesting against the three farm laws.
"It is inappropriate to link the result of municipal corporation polls in Punjab with farmers' agitation. We were weak in Punjab and used to fight polls in alliance with Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). But we fought separately this time, which caused losses to us," Mr Tomar said during a press conference in Assam''s Guwahati.
He was responding to a question on the result of municipal corporation polls in Punjab where Congress won seven of the eight municipal corporations that went to the polls. BJP has been nearly wiped out in the civic polls. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who was the lone SAD representative in the central government, resigned last September, just days after the passage of the laws.
The central government had offered to put the farm laws "on hold" for 12-18 months, an offer rejected by the farmers' unions protesting against the laws. Several rounds of talks have been held with farmers over their demand for the repeal of three new laws against which farmers have been protesting at Delhi borders for nearly three months.
When asked specifically if the Centre is still willing to talk to the agitating farmers, the minister said, "The central government is still of the view that we are ready to discuss the three acts clause-by-clause with farmer unions."
Speaking on the upcoming Legislative Assembly elections in Assam, Mr Tomar, BJP's election in-charge for the state, said that the party will win more seats in the Assembly polls and will succeed in forming the government again.
"Due to pro-incumbency, BJP will win more seats in the Assembly polls (in Assam). The people of Assam have witnessed what was happening five years ago. Corruption was at the peak, development was far from sight, the law and order situation was bad. PM Modi has given priority to the development of the North East region," the Union Minister said.