Farmers emerge victorious 

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally conceded to the demands of the farmers. After months of agitations, protests, and countless discussions; the three controversial farm laws were, at last, was announced to be repealed by the Prime Minister on November 19. Notably, the BJP government passed the laws during the Covid-19 crisis taking it as an opportunity to push ‘agriculture market reform’ in the country. However, soon after that the farmers rushed to New Delhi and started their almost a year-long agitations. Modi’s announcement of repealing the three farm laws on the occasion of Guruparva has special religious and political connotations. It serves two constituencies for Modi, first the Hindus and the second the Sikhs in general. Mind you that Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are going to the polls within a few months. The BJP is running a very high stake in the former and a very high aspiration in the latter. Any loss to the BJP in these states will ultimately dampen its prospect of regaining power in New Delhi in the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections.

Whatever may be the reason, the political path onward for Modi and his party would certainly become less rocky ahead. Farmers of the country are restive against not only on account of the three controversial farm laws but also for their shattered hopes of doubling their income by 2022 that was promised by Modi in 2016. Modi was perhaps aware that he could not deliver his promise of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. First, because the expert committee he put his trust in worked typically in a bureaucratic way and took too much time to suggest ways and means for doubling farmers’ income. It finally submitted 14 bulky volumes in September 2018 which was too lengthy to be implemented in so little time left with the government. When Modi began his second term in mid-2019, his promise started haunting him, because much-needed “agriculture reform” was overdue, and which was the only hope left for the country to feed its ever-increasing population.

Earlier, the Modi government had offered to stay the laws for 18 months, but Samyukta Kissan Morcha never agreed at less than their demand for scrapping the laws. Despite hardship suffered in the hands of the government, vagaries of weather, arrests, and cases of seditions, farmers’ agitations continued. 600 lives and almost a year later, finally the farmers emerged victoriously. The agitating farmers managed to get support from every corner of the world, and across India, from almost all non-BJP political parties in the country, from the entire workforce, trade unions, and associations. Having said this, though the farmers’ agitation is apolitical, their leaders have lately started campaigning against the BJP and Modi who got the anti-farmers laws enacted in the first place. For the BJP, they must now plan for much-needed actual agriculture reform in the country in the real sense of the term putting the farmers at the center of the plan along with the food security for the people. It should stop hoodwinking the people by really planning for pro-corporate agri-market reform while labeling it agriculture reform for the benefit of farmers; as the Prime Minister claimed while announcing the repeal. Nevertheless, farmers and agriculture of this country need much more than the mere repeal of these new laws, since they cannot solve the long outstanding problems.

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