The farmers protesting against the Centre's new farm laws will not relent on their demands, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) vice president Jayant Chaudhary said today and assured his party's support to the ongoing protests.
He met with some of the agitating farmers at Singhu border in Delhi, but dubbed his meeting as "non-political".
"Everyone is concerned about the situation. It has been a couple of days since the stir began at the Delhi border, but the agitation in Punjab has been on since more than one-and-a-half months," Mr Chaudhary said.
"I went to meet the farmers because I felt it was my duty to do so. I went there to distribute langar 'prasad' to the farmers with 'seva bhaav' (feeling of service). It was not a political visit," he added.
The RLD leader said he met and spoke with several protestors and it "looked like the farmers will not relent" unless their demands are fulfilled.
Asked about his party's stand over the new farm laws, he said RLD has been against the legislations since the very beginning and had questioned the Centre's intent over pushing the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Mr Chaudhary said the government can make new laws, but it should not "destruct" the existing legislations. "One must realise that it takes a long time for any law to come into existence, a lot of hard work goes into it. Here, three new laws were made quickly even though no one had asked for them. Can the government clarify who had demanded these laws that would benefit the corporate instead of farmers?" he said.
On RLD losing elections in western Uttar Pradesh, which was once considered its stronghold, Mr Chaudhary said his party is once again trying to reach out to the people at grassroots level to reclaim lost ground.
"We are now participating in movements and causes closer to the common man to reclaim the lost ground. This was the reason for our electoral losses also," he said.
The RLD will soon launch a new initiative "Mera Gaon, Mera Sangathan" that aims to build further on the party's grassroots connection, he informed.
Hundreds of farmers are staying put at Delhi's borders near Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. They have expressed apprehension that the Centre's farm laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporates.
However, the Centre has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)