The 'Delhi Chalo' protest march announced by farmers is set to take place today after a five-hour-long meeting of farmer representatives with two Union ministers over their demands remained inconclusive on Monday. The march seeks to press the Centre for the enactment of a law on the minimum support price for crops.
The Union ministers held talks in Chandigarh with farmer leaders to dissuade over 200 farmer groups from their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march. The farmers are expected to move towards Delhi from 10 am.
Delhi and Haryana have fortified their borders with a thick layer of security arrangments avoid a repeat of the 2020–2021 farmer agitation by not allowing protesters to reach Delhi. Farmers, however, are reportedly ready with "modified tractors" to counter the barricades.
The primary demand of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, led by Bhartiya Kisan Union (Sidhupur) leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal and Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee coordinator Sarwan Singh Pandher, is the enactment of legislation ensuring minimum support prices (MSP) for all crops, in line with the recommendations of the Dr Swaminathan Commission.
Union ministers, including Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal and Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda, are holding their second round of talks with farmer leaders at the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration in Sector 26 of Chandigarh.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who brokered the meeting between the Centre and farmer leaders, did not attend Monday's meeting since he is in Ayodhya with his Delhi counterpart, Arvind Kejriwal.
The first meeting with Union ministers was held on February 8, and detailed dialogue with farmer organisation leaders took place.
The farmers have also been demanding accountability for the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, justice for affected farmers, India's withdrawal from the World Trade Organisation, a pension scheme for farmers and agricultural labourers, compensation for families of deceased farmers during the Delhi agitation, and employment for one member from such families.
Earlier in the day, a multitude of tractor-trolleys departed from various parts of Punjab to join the planned farmers' march towards Delhi.
Traffic restrictions and heightened security now mark the Singhu, Ghazipur, and Tikri borders in anticipation of the march, with Haryana Police and Chandigarh Police issuing traffic advisories for commuters to seek alternative routes.
Meanwhile, a petition filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenges the sealing of borders and suspension of mobile internet services by the Haryana government ahead of the farmers' protest march to Delhi on February 13.
The petitioner, Uday Partap Singh, seeks court directives to halt all "obstructive" actions by the governments, alleging that they infringe on fundamental rights and are "unconstitutional."
The matter is expected to come up for a hearing on Tuesday.