New Delhi, January 14

Ahead of the ninth round of Centre-farmer talks on Friday, there have been some major developments on the ongoing agitation. Amid growing criticism, including from his own union, BKU’s Bhupinder Singh Mann (one of the four experts nominated by the Supreme Court for negotiations with farmers protesting against the three farm laws) today recused himself from the committee.

Meanwhile amid the growing social media buzz on unions “tractor parade” on the Republic Day, farmers’ leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said the January-26 plan will be revealed after the meeting with the Union ministers. He also urged everyone to maintain peace and harmony and not pay heed to “false and unfounded inflammatory propaganda and rumour mongering” on the tractor march to “malign and scuttle the movement”.

Clearing the confusion over the fate of tomorrow’s meeting (the only outcome of the January-8 talks) after the SC ruling on Tuesday and Mann recusing from the court-appointed panel today, Tomar said the talks will be held as scheduled. While they have already specified that they will not appear before the court-appointed panel, farmer unions said they were ready to attend the scheduled talks with the government.

In his statement, Mann said he was thankful to the Supreme Court for nominating him to the committee to start a dialogue with unions on the laws. However, as a farmer leader and union leader, “in view of the prevailing sentiments and apprehensions amongst the farm unions and public in general, I am ready to sacrifice any position offered or given to me so as to not compromise the interests of Punjab and farmers in the country, I am recusing myself from the committee and I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab,” Mann said after the union he headed also distanced itself from him.

After being selected by the SC, he had urged everyone to put forward their views before the panel.

Union leaders claimed others on the panel will “also resign soon”.

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