Farmer leaders turned down the government’s lunch offer at a crucial meeting on Thursday, saying they had brought their own food and refreshments delivered at the Vigyan Bhavan venue in an ambulance.
The leaders of more than 30 farmer unions are meeting Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar for the second time this week amid a massive protest against the new farm laws. Thousands of farmers have been camped at Delhi borders for a week now with the numbers swelling by the day as more unions from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh join in.
"We are not accepting food or tea offered by the government. We have brought our own food,” news agency ANI quoted a farmer leader as saying.
#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
Later in the evening, the ambulance also brought tea for the farmers at Vigyan Bhavan. Farmer leaders had similarly snubbed Tomar’s tea offer at Tuesday’s meeting and instead invited him for jalebis at the langars set up by protesting farmers.
"Even the tea he is offering comes from the milk of our dairy farms. We can give him jalebi, laddoo, chai everything, but we will not end our protest till our demands are met," farmer leader Prem Singh had said.
The farmers, who form a powerful political constituency, fear the laws passed in September could pave the way for the government to stop buying grains at MSP or guaranteed prices, leaving them at the mercy of private buyers. The Narendra Modi government has defended the bill and several hours of talks between farmers' leaders and the government on Tuesday failed to break the impasse.