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Mamata Banerjee dials agitating farmers, assures TMC's support

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New Delhi, Dec 04: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday spoke to various farmers'' groups protesting at Delhi''s Singhu border against the Centre''s agriculture reform laws and assured them that the TMC stands by them, party leader Derek O''Brien said.

Mamata Banerjee

Brien, who spent almost four hours with the agitating farmers, facilitated the interactions over the phone.

Enacted in September, the three farm laws are anticipated to bring "reforms" in the agriculture sector by removing middlemen and allowing farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

Farmers worry these laws will eliminate the safety net of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and do away with mandis that ensure earning. But the government says the MSP system will continue and the new laws will give farmers more options to sell their crop.

"The CM spoke to the farmers. Four telephone calls to different groups from Haryana and Punjab, they shared their demands and they were clear that they wanted the farm bills (laws) repealed," O''Brien said.

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"They also thanked the CM for her show of solidarity. They also expressed their gratitude for all her support to farmers and land movements in the past," he said.

The Rajya Sabha MP said Banerjee told the farmers that she and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) will stand by them in this movement demanding a repeal of the "anti-farmer" laws.

It was a very emotional meeting. The farmers'' groups were aware of the laws and knew exactly what they wanted -- the repeal of these laws, O''Brien said.

In fact, today, 14 years ago, Banerjee began her hunger strike for the farmers in Singur, he noted.

Since the protesting farmers landed at the gateways of Delhi last week, the government has held two rounds of talks with their leaders to resolve the deadlock. The next round of talks is scheduled to be held on Saturday.

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