NEW DELHI, Dec 12 - Sticking to their demands, farmer leaders on Saturday said they are ready to hold talks with the government, but will first discuss repealing the three new farm laws, and announced that representatives of their unions would sit on a hunger strike during a nationwide protest on December 14. Addressing a press conference at Singhu Border here, farmer leader Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu also said that thousands of farmers will start their �Delhi Chalo� march with their tractors from Rajasthan�s Shahjahanpur through the Jaipur-Delhi Highway at 11 am on Sunday.
The distance between Shahjahanpur and Delhi-Gurgaon border is around 94 kilometres. Spelling out their strategy to make the agitation even �bigger�, the farmer leader announced that their mothers, sisters and daughters will also join them soon, and that arrangements for their stay are being made at the protest sites. Farmers� move to further intensify their agitation comes on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured them that his government was committed to their welfare and that the three legislations were aimed at giving them alternative markets to boost income.
Pannu said that farmers from other parts of the country are also on their way to join the protesters at camping at various borders of the national capital. He said the police are putting up barricades to prevent the farmers from heading towards Delhi, but he asserted that the farmers will join the protest anyhow and take it to the next level in the coming days.
�If the government wants to hold talks, we are ready, but our main demand will remain the scrapping of the three laws. We will move onto our other demands only after that,� Pannu said.
Farmer union leaders will also sit on a hunger strike between 8 am and 5 pm at the Singhu border during the nationwide protest on December 14 against the new agriculture laws, he said.
Pannu alleged the government tried to weaken their agitation, but that the protesting farmers did not let that happen. The farmer leader vowed to keep the protest peaceful.
�The government tried to weaken our agitation by dividing us (various farmer unions). I want to say that the ongoing agitation is fully under control of 32 farmer unions. We will fail every government attempt to divide us,� Pannu said.
The government had on Friday asked the protesting farmers to be vigilant against their platform being misused, saying some �antisocial� as well as �Leftist and Maoist� elements were conspiring to spoil the atmosphere of the agitation which has been going on for over two weeks now.
Meanwhile, a farmer delegation from Haryana met Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday to extend their support to the new farm legislations and threatened to stage a protest if those are repealed.
The delegation, led by Bharatiya Kisan Union (Mann) Haryana state leader Guni Prakash, submitted a �letter of support� to Tomar on the farm laws passed by Parliament in September and demanded the government to continue with these legislations.
�We will also protest if the government repeals the laws. We have given a memorandum to all districts,� Prakash told reporters after the meeting.
Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country. � PTI