CHANDIGARH: Former Punjab minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi on Sunday urged PM Narendra Modi to repeal the contentious farm laws so that farmers return to their homes before harsh winter, stressing hundreds of them have died during the course of their agitation.

Farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and UP, have been camping at the Delhi borders since November 26 last year, demanding the repeal of the three new farm laws. “The country has been witnessing farmers’ protest for over a year now. While we have seen farmers stand united and determined to have their voices heard, there are also those hundreds of farmers who have lost their lives while fighting for their rights,” the Congress MLA said.

It is most unfortunate that the protesting farmers continue to live in extreme conditions without essentials, proper availability of sanitation and clean drinking water, he said.

“Their persistence despite their continued plight has only shown their resolve that they will not settle down until a rational decision of repealing the controversial farm laws is agreed upon,” said Sodhi in a statement here.

Sodhi urged the PM to re-initiate talks with farmers and withdraw the laws so that farmers could return to their homes before the onset of harsh winter.

“Also, considering that the festivities are approaching, it’ll only be fair that they celebrate the festival with their families and not on the roads,” said Sodhi.

“It is our basic empathy that they should be able to celebrate this Diwali with their families and the coming year with fulfilment and prosperity,” he said.

Sodhi said the withdrawal of the three farm laws in no way would reflect the “weakness” of the Union government as argued by certain sections of society, rather it would show the Centre to be “large-hearted and magnanimous”. “I earnestly request PM Modi to kindly revisit the decision in favour and interest of our farmers,” he said.