Saturday, December 4, 2021

Modi stoops to conquer, announces repeal of contentious farm laws

  • Smart move ahead of key elections in UP and Punjab
  • PM says sorry to the nation
  • Rahul calls it defeat of arrogance in the hands of Satyagraha
  • Rakesh Tikait says the movement will be on until the laws are repealed

Three controversial farm laws against which a prolonged agitation by farmers on Delhi border has been going on for months are being withdrawn. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made this announcement in a broadcast to the nation on Friday morning. He said the laws per se are good and were in the interest of the farmers. Since some section of the farmers who have been on agitation mode could not be convinced by the government in spite of several rounds of talks, it is decided to withdraw the laws.

“While apologising to the nation, I want to say with a sincere and pure heart that maybe something was lacking in our tapasya (resolve) that we could not explain the truth, as clear as the light of the diya, to some of our farmer brothers,” Narendra Modi said.

Narendra Modi had explained that the laws were meant to benefit the farmers. They were actually reforms in farm sector. Some farmers were convinced about the good of the laws and some others were not.  But when a section of the farmers went on to launch a movement against the farm laws, the government had offered to put the laws in suspension for two years or carry out some changes suggested by the farmers. However, since the farmers were not convinced, the government had decided not to press the issue any more and withdraw the controversial farm laws in the interest of amity with farmers.

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Modi’s announcement came on the Guru Purab festival, when Sikhism founder Guru Nanak’s birthday is celebrated with gusto across the world. The announcement had  taken the farmers as well as opposition leaders by surprise. The climb-down  was very much needed in view of critical assembly polls in key states like Punjab and UP whose farmers have been on warpath for almost a year. The elections are due in three months.

“May be something was lacking in our tapasya (resolve) which is why we could not convince some farmers about the laws. But today is Prakash Parv, not the time to blame anyone. Today, I want to tell the country that we have decided to repeal the three farm laws,” Modi said in his address to the nation. “In the Parliament session starting at the end of this month, we will complete the process of repealing the three laws,” he added. “Whatever I did was for farmers. What I am doing is for the country,” he said.

The opposition and the farmers had accused the government of imposing the new laws without debate in Parliament. The government has been arguing that the laws were meant to improve the revenue of the farmers by doing away with the middlemen. The farmers thought it was ploy to do away with Minimum Support Prices (MSP) and also to empower corporate sector to take over the farming in the country and put the farmers at the mercy of the corporates.

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The movement launched by the farmers of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan  in November 2020 demanding the repeal of the so called black laws has been going on through shine and rain. The laws have angered the farmers in north India and the BJP cannot afford to antagonize the farmers further in view of the important elections in five States within three months and the general elections in 2024. It is a clever and politically expedient move by the BJP government. The protesting farmers are from Western UP where BJP has great stakes in the upcoming elections.  Rakesh Tikait said the protest would go on until the laws are scrapped in the Parliament session which is scheduled to begin on November 29. Soon after the address, the prime minister has left to UP on yet another tour to launch developmental schemes. It would help Punjab former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh who was trying to float his own party  and go for a tie-up with the BJP. The Akalis also can walk back into the BJP fold since their main concern was the welfare of the farmers. It is a smart move by the prime minister who did not bother to surrender to the popular agitation and agree to the main demand of the farmers. It is stooping to conquer as far as Modi is concerned.

K. Ramachandra Murthy
Founder & Editor

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