On the auspicious occasion of Guru Purab Prime Minister Narendra Modi, out of the blue decided to address the nation in an early morning impromptu correspondence. While the majority of the nation had barely woken up to the nippy, wintry November morning, PM Modi dropped a bomb, stating that the three farm laws, brought in by his government and defended incessantly by his legion of supporters were being repealed.
PM Modi stated, “Today is the holy festival of light of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. This is not the time to blame anyone. Today, I want to tell you and everyone in the country that we have decided to repeal the three farm laws. In the winter session, set to begin at the end of this month, the constitutional process to repeal all the three farm laws will be initiated,”
— Prasar Bharati News Services पी.बी.एन.एस. (@PBNS_India) November 19, 2021
As soon as the breaking news of the repealing of the farm laws reached the common public, the majority directed their discontent and collective angst at the Modi government for bending down in front of the mob of farmers.
However, a closer look and dissection of PM Modi’s speech reveals that while the administration might have taken a step backwards, albeit, at the moment, it surely is giving itself a vacant springboard to jump later and pick up from where it left.
Cleverly choosing the day to deliver the decision
Firstly, the occasion chosen as the day to deliver the decision assumes paramount importance. By choosing Guru Purab, PM Modi has sent a clear message that farmers having problems with the three farm laws are concentrated in the Northern state of Punjab.
PM Modi also highlighted that unlike what was presented in the media, the government took the moral high ground every time and engaged the particular ‘enraged’ section of farmers in a cohesive and collective manner.
A section of farmers could not be convinced
PM Modi said, “Even though only a section of farmers were protesting, it still was important for us. Agricultural economists, scientists, progressive farmers also tried hard to make them understand the importance of agricultural laws. We kept on explaining to them[farmers] with all humility, an open mind.”
He further added, “Individual and group interaction through various mediums also continued. We did not leave any stone unturned to understand the arguments of the farmers. The government agreed to change the provisions of the law on which they had objections. We also proposed to suspend these laws for two years. In the meantime, the matter also went to the Hon’ble Supreme Court. All these things are in front of the country, so I will not go into more detail about them.
Please leave the protests sites: PM Modi
Terming the reality of farm laws as ‘truth like the light of lamp’, PM Modi added, “Today, while apologizing to the countrymen, I want to say with a sincere heart and with a pure heart that perhaps there must have been some deficiency in our work, due to which we could not explain the ‘truth’ — like the light of the lamp, to the farmers” (Shayad humari tapasaya me koi kami reh gayi hogi, jiske karan diye ke prakash jaisa satya khud kisaan bhaiyo ko hum samjha nahi paaye)
Moreover, in a cleverly crafted, sentimental way, PM Modi urged the agitating farmers to pack up their things and leave the protest sites.
He said, “I am urging all my agitating farmer companions today, today is the holy day of Guru Parv. Please return to your homes now, return to your fields, return to your families. Let’s make a fresh start. Let’s move forward anew.”
No mistake in bringing the farm laws
PM Modi further remarked that no mistake was made in bringing the Farm laws. He said that the government had introduced the laws after due deliberation but perhaps it was the shortcoming of the government that they could not convince all farmers that the laws were indeed in their benefit. Further, he said that the past governments had deliberated on these laws as well but it was the Modi government that had implemented them.
None of the bills were going to impact the agricultural subsidies that the Modi government gives to the farmers. The Modi government has only increased the subsidies on fertilizer, seed (input) as well as the MSP (output) in the last seven years.
Moreover, the government has already removed the middlemen in the procurement of produce at MSP in all states with direct transfer of money to farmer’s accounts. In Punjab and Haryana, the farmers who have not integrated their land records with the central database are not getting MSP.
Also, the third bill on Essential Commodities has more to do with execution rather than legislation and, the government is already cautious in imposing stock holding limits. So, the implementation of the first and third bills is already in place and the only decision that would suffer from the repeal of these laws is contract farming.
Modi gov repealed laws, SC stayed the laws – ball in farmer’s court
While PM Modi remarked he brought the farm laws for the farmers and repealed them for the country, the leader of the farmer’s protest, Rakesh Tikait has clearly stated that the protest on the borders of the national capital will not be wrapping up anytime soon.
The ball is clearly in the farmer’s court who are still agitating at the protest sites. PM Modi repealing the three laws comes at the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year. In January, the apex court had stayed the three farm laws and also formed a four-member committee to talk to the protesting farmers and the government stakeholders.
Farmers will lose credence if they continue to sit and jam the roads
Yet, the farmers’ unions continued to camp on the borders of Delhi and openly defied the instructions of the top court, all whilst engaging in violence.
In a tweet after the PM’s announcement, Tikait said, “The farmers’ protest will not stop immediately, we will wait till the day when agricultural laws are repealed in Parliament. Besides MSP, the Centre should also discuss other issues with the farmers,”
"Agitation isn't ending, it'll continue. The 9-member committee of Samyukt Morcha is being held today. If the government wants to put forth their side, they should do it there. We'll legally work on things they say at the conference": BKU leader Rakesh Tikait
— NDTV (@ndtv) November 19, 2021
If even after PM Modi’s assurance, the farmers continue to logjam the national capital, causing inconvenience to the commoners, they will lose their credibility and credence.
As far as the supposed shrewd political pundits of the country arguing that it was an electoral move, keeping in view of the upcoming Punjab and Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, they couldn’t be more wrong.
The farmers at the border threatened to be a national nuisance. The Khalistani feelers had infiltrated the camps and were using it for their nefarious agendas. Moreover, as far as UP is concerned, BJP is not going anywhere with the Yogi Tsunami brewing strong.
As for Punjab, Congress is doing enough on its own to self-destruct and give BJP a golden chance. With the farm laws now repealed, even Captain Amarinder Singh is expected to sway towards BJP, if he hadn’t already.
The farmers are not vacating the borders, for the goals of political clout hungry leaders like Rakesh Tikait has long transcended the original demands. Most of the farmers camping in Delhi have their political and religious motives, not economic. As far as the content of the bill is concerned, not a single decision was going to hurt the farmers as most have no idea of what the bills were all about.
However, the government has given itself the necessary ammo to expose the ilk of Tikait. It might be a bitter pill for BJP supporters presently but in a vibrant democracy such as ours, an occasional defeat is necessary to regroup, recharge and plan ahead sharply.