A nationwide law for MSP, Ordinance on stubble burning and APMCs were among key issues discussed in the meeting between representatives of protesting farmers and the government; next meeting between the government and kisan unions will be held on 5 December.

The fourth round of a seven-hour-long marathon meeting ended between the government and farmers, without much headway on Thursday. After the meeting, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that the government has given assurance to the farmers that MSP will continue and the fifth round of meeting will take place on Saturday.

The marathon meeting was not without its moments when the farmers refused to eat food provided by the government and instead their own food from the langar was brought in an ambulance inside the Vigyan Bhawan where the meeting was taking place.

Farmers’ unions stuck to their demand that the farm laws should be repealed and there is no getting away from that. After the meeting, Harjinder Singh Tanda of the Azaad Kisan Sangarsh Committee said that talks have made little progress. In the first half, it seemed that today’s meeting will yield no result, but in the second half it seemed that there was pressure from the farmers’ agitation on the government. He further added that the government will have to take back the law and he is hopeful that “it will be finalised in the meeting day after tomorrow”.

Baldev Singh Sirsa, a farmer leader, said: “We have told the government that we don’t want amendments, but withdrawal of laws. We demanded that MSP be implemented and law should be made for it.” After the meeting, the Sanyukt Kisan Morch issued a press release and said that the farmers pointed to all the lacunae in the three farm laws and the government had no answer to this.

After the meeting, Union minister Tomar said that the government has no ego and it is discussing all the issues with the farmers with an open mind. Farmers are concerned that the new laws will end APMCs. “We will contemplate and ensure that the APMCs are further strengthened. It was also raised in the meeting that if trade takes place outside the purview of mandis, it will be done on the basis of a PAN card which anyone can get. So, we will ensure that the trader gets registered. The government will also consider their demand that farmers should be allowed to go to the court as they feel that SDM is a lower court.’ Tomar also added that the farmers also expressed their concerns over an Ordinance on stubble burning and the Act on electricity. The government is open to consider and discuss this as well, he said.

Farmer leaders have said that they will hold a meeting on Friday at 11am in which discussion will take place on the road ahead. The fifth round of meeting between the government and the farmers will be on Saturday.