“We do not want to break any barricades. We want a resolution of our issues through dialogue. But if they (the government) do nothing, then what will we do? It is our compulsion,” Sarwan Singh Pandher, a leader of one of the farmer groups, told reporters Tuesday.
Pandher said talks between farm leaders and government ministers on Monday failed to produce any consensus on their key demands and the government refused to make a decision.
The current march called “Delhi Chalo,” or “March to Delhi,” comes just months before a national election in which Modi is widely expected to win a third term.
The protests could pose a significant challenge for Modi and his governing Bharatiya Janata Party as farmers form the most influential voting bloc in India and politicians have long considered it unwise to alienate them. The stakes are high in Haryana and Punjab, where farmers form a sizable population, as the two states send 23 lawmakers to India’s lower house of Parliament.
India’s opposition Congress party said it will address the farmers’ demand for a law ensuring a minimum support price if it is voted into power in the upcoming national election.
“This is the first guarantee of Congress on the path of justice,” party leader Rahul Gandhi wrote on X.
Some farmer and trade unions have also announced a countrywide rural strike on Friday.