Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said photographs of those “who have nothing to do directly or indirectly with demands of farmers” have been seen during the protest over three farm laws, noting that a photo of a “jailed person” from Naxal-affected Gadchiroli district was seen in the protest and also of people “who gave anti-national speeches in Delhi”.

Gadkari, who is Minister of Road Transport and Highways, said there are some elements who are trying to mislead the farmers by taking advantage of their agitation.

“People who gave anti-national speeches in Delhi, who have no relation with the country and farmers, who have nothing to do directly or indirectly with the demands of farmers, their photos have been seen. Please tell me how did they come in this. There are some elements who are trying to mislead the farmers by taking advantage of the agitation. I feel it is wrong,” Gadkari said.

He also said the government is ready for talks concerning apprehensions of protesting farmers over three farm laws enacted recently by the government.

“The government is ready to accept all good suggestions (from farmers). It will take some time. Our government will convince the farmers, explain and find a way through dialogue,” he said.

The minister said the farmers should be told the truth “in the right way”. “If there is no dialogue, it can lead to miscommunication, to controversy and sparring. If there is a dialogue then issues will be resolved, the whole thing will end, farmers will get justice, they will get relief. We are working in the interest of farmers,” Gadkari said.

The Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) Minister said that farmers’ union should discuss the farm laws clause by clause with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar who is ready for it.

The minister said that the NDA government has increased the minimum support price of crops several times in the past six years. “In the last six years, we increased the MSP of crops six times. Tell me how are we against the farmers? Works which were done in the last six years in the interest of farmers were not done in last 50 years,” he said.

Farmers are protesting on borders of Delhi demanding the repeal of three farm laws enacted recently by the government. They have been on protest since November 26.

They have rejected the proposals of the government concerning changes in the farm laws and have held five rounds of talks with the Centre besides attending a meeting called by Home Minister Amit Shah.

Farmers have been protesting against 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.

(With ANI inputs)

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