Repealing of Farm Laws- A gift to the Farmers’ on Guru Nanak Jayanti

Juthika Baruah

Repealing of three contentious farm laws has been like the golden gift for the Indian farmers’ on the day of Guru Nanak Jayanti. November 19, 2021 will be a historical day for the farmers’ as the year-long protests against the farm laws has resulted to a victory.

On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government will repeal the farm laws as the farmers are the one for whom the people are getting to feed their stomach. The Prime Minister apologized to the nation on the day of Guru Nanak Jayanti saying that with a sincere and pure heart that something was lacking in tapashya (dedication) that the government could not explain the truth to some of the farmer brothers, as clear as the light of the diya. But today is Prakash Parv, not the time to blame anyone, said PM Modi.

Appealing the agitating farmers to return from the protest site, PM Modi said that the farm laws will be withdrawn during the winter session of the Parliament.

“I would request all my protesting farmer friends, today is the auspicious day of Guru Purab, return home to your fields and your families and make a new beginning, let us move forward afresh,” PM Modi said.

Before the big climb-down, the Prime Minister defended the laws saying they were meant as reforms, mainly for small and marginal farmers in the country.

“Whatever I did was for farmers. What I am doing is for the country.”

Since When the Farmers Begin Protest?

It was since November 2020 that thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have been camping outside Delhi demanding to scrap the three farm laws. It was during the protest site that dozens of farmers even lost their lives due to cold, heat and COVID.  

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have been camping outside Delhi since November 2020, demanding that the “black laws” be withdrawn.

After the announcement of PM Modi of repealing the laws, Rakesh Tikait, a top farmer leader, said the protesters would wait till the laws were repealed in the session starting on November 29.

The farmer protests did not stop through several rounds of talks between the government and farmers, disruptions in parliament and Supreme Court hearings on petitions challenging the laws.

PM Modi in his address stated, “We regret we could not convince all farmers. Only a section of them was opposing the laws, but we kept trying to educate and inform them.”

Opposition Reactions

The opposition has to recalibrate its next moves but for now, its leaders call it the farmers’ victory over the government’s arrogance.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that the farmers’ satyagraha has defeated arrogance. He congratulated for this victory over injustice.

The opposition and farmers accuse the government of railroading the three laws through parliament without much discussion. The government said the laws would remove middlemen and improve farmers’ earnings by allowing them to sell anywhere in the country. Farmers argued that the laws would expose them to unfair competition, leave them at the mercy of corporates and deprive them of the guaranteed price for their produce.

The sensational rollback is politically expedient for the BJP as it seeks re-election in Uttar Pradesh, a big decider ahead of 2024.

The BJP feared that it would lose voters in western Uttar Pradesh, one of the epicentres of the farmer protests, a region that has a fourth of the assembly seats set to vote.

The frequency of visits to UP by the Prime Minister and other leaders like Amit Shah reflect the party’s laser focus on retaining UP.

Right after his address, PM Modi headed to Uttar Pradesh again to launch a series of schemes.

The PM’s move may tip the balance in Punjab, where the BJP has been reduced to a minor player after long-time ally Akali Dal broke ties over the farm laws. The state’s ruling Congress faces a challenge from its own former leader, Amarinder Singh. Amarinder Singh, forced to quit as Chief Minister in September, held talks with the BJP soon after. Cancelling the farm laws was reportedly a condition that Mr Singh had for a tie-up with the BJP.

Reaction of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti in Assam

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), the peasant organization in the state expressed happiness over the decision of repealing the farm laws.

They said that the Modi government wanted to enact the farm laws by ending the farmers’ rights. It further said that Modi’s fascist government has surrendered before the farmers’.

Farmers’ Reaction

Farmers in Punjab and Haryana are celebrating the news, raising flags of victory and distributing sweets. But they say the fight is not over.

“We have no faith in a verbal promise. Unless we see it in writing that the laws have actually been repealed, we will stay here,” said a protesting farmer.

The agitating farmers’ said that it has been one year that they are protesting and they will wait few days more till the repealing process gets completed. After then they will return to their home.

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