New Delhi, February 22: Union minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday appealed to the farmers protesting at the Punjab-Haryana borders to not follow the path of violence, asserting that the government is ready to hold talks with them to resolve their concerns. The information and broadcasting minister also hit out at the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for their remarks on the farmer issue. Thousands of farmers from Punjab remain camped at the Punjab-Haryana borders as part of their 'Delhi Chalo' march to press the Centre to accept their demands, including a legal guarantee for minimum support price for crops and farm debt waiver.

While the Congress did “nothing” for the farmers during its regime in the past, the AAP kept pressing former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for announcing MSP at state level but did not do anything in this regard when it came to power in the border state, Thakur charged. “It is my request to all demonstrators that they do not follow the path of violence. Government is always ready to hold talks with farmers on whatever their organisations want to discuss,” he told reporters here. Protesting Noida Farmers Call off Feb 23 Delhi March

“In the first four rounds of talks, the Modi government's senior ministers met them in Chandigarh and held talks for several hours in a very positive manner. And we have said that in future also, whenever need arises, we are ready for talks,” he said. “There should not be violence, damage to anyone's property and life. This we all should try,” he added. The minister highlighted the steps taken by the Modi government for the welfare and progress of farmers.

“We increased sugarcane price from Rs 315 per quintal and purchased it at Rs 340 per quintal. This is 8 per cent higher than last year. Not only this, we are trying to double the farmers' income and have taken every step in this direction,” he said. “We implemented the Swaminathan Committee report...Modi government took every step in the interest of farmers to increase their income, to make them prosperous, and would continue to do so,” he added. Mufti Salman Azhari Hate Speech Case: Mumbai-Based Cleric Granted Bail in Third Inflammatory Speech Case in Gujarat, Put in Preventive Detention

Anurag Thakur On Farmers Delhi Chalo March

Asked about the Congress promising a legal guarantee to MSP if it comes to power at the Centre, Thakur said, “My only question to the Congress is that what did it do when it ruled the country for 60 years”. From 2004-14, the Congress gave only Rs 5.5 lakh crore for MSP while the Modi government spent Rs 18.39 lakh crore on this head, which is three and half times higher, he said. “AAP leaders Arvind Kejriwal, Bhagwant Mann and others used to press Amarinder Singh when he was Punjab CM to give MSP in the state. Now it is their government in Delhi and Punjab also,” Thakur added.