Anna Hazare calls off proposed hunger strike over farm laws after Centre promises to set up panel

Mumbai: Social activist Anna Hazare on Friday said he won't be proceeding with the indefinite fast against the new farm laws and claimed that the Central government has agreed to some of his demands.

"The union government has agreed to some of my demands and also announced setting up a committee to improve the lives of farmers. I have decided to suspend my proposed indefinite fast starting from Saturday," he said on Friday.

Union Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary and BJP leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadanvis met Hazare during the day.

"A high-level committee, with some members nominated by Hazare, will consider his demands and submit a report in six
months," said Choudhary.

In a statement earlier in the day, Hazare (84) had announced that he will be starting the hunger strike from his village Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra on Saturday.

In that communication, Hazare had said he had written to the prime minister and union agriculture minister five times on the plight of farmers but to no avail.

Earlier, while announcing the hunger strike, he had said, "I have been demanding reforms in the agriculture sector, but
the Centre doesn't seem to be taking the right decisions."

"The Centre has no sensitivity left for farmers, which is why I am starting my indefinite fast at my village from 30 January," he had added.

Hazare, who was at the forefront of the anti-corruption movement in 2011, had also recalled that when he went on a hunger strike at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan, the then UPA government had called a special session of Parliament.

"Farmers are not getting adequate returns for their crops. I had told the government to implement the report of the Swaminathan Commission. It was delayed by the union government, so I decided to launch the protest from Saturday," Hazare told reporters at his village.

"But the government has appointed a high-level committee and assured me that farmers will get adequate returns for crops. Therefore, I have decided not to launch the protest," he said.

Asked if this U-turn will hurt his credibility, Hazare said the high-level committee will look into the implementation of the reforms, and he felt that he can trust the Union government.

Choudhary said the government has responded positively to Hazare's demands.

"He also told us that agriculture budget should be increased. I can tell you that we have significantly increased the agriculture budget. We have appointed a high-level committee that will consist of members of Niti Ayog and persons nominated by Hazare. It will submit its report in six months," the minister said.



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