On 16 December, the Supreme Court proposed the formation of a committee comprising representatives of the central government and farmers organisations to resolve the ongoing deadlock over three recently enacted farm laws. In its interim order on 16 December, the court granted eight farmer leaders, the “permission to implead as respondents” to a petition seeking the removal of the protesting farmers from the Delhi border. Though not officially stated, it is likely that these eight names were proposed by the centre. It is telling that the list of eight names does not include Joginder Singh Ugrahan, the leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), and one of the key people leading the ongoing protests.
Ugrahan has been at the forefront of the agitation at the Tikri border between Delhi and Haryana, leading over one lakh farmers. The central government had earlier invited Ugrahan alone for talks on 28 November when protesting farmers had first gathered at the Tikri and Singhu borders. Ugrahan had refused to participate. “They should call everyone and not try to divide us,” he told me at the time. The centre later attempted to isolate Ugrahan. He was not part of a delegation invited by the union home minister Amit Shah for an informal meeting on the evening of 8 December. That meeting did not yield any conclusive agreement.