Victory for farmers


Farmers in India while celebrating the victory against Prime Minister Narendra Modi said fight for their rights was not over as now they had no faith in the verbal promises of the Indian government. The farmers had firmly told the government that they would call off the protest only after the laws were repealed in the winter session of parliament. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the repeal of three controversial farm laws after a year of protests but farmers said he would not able to win back their trust.
While celebrating their victory, the farmers said that they had totally lost faith in Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party government. The announcement came on a day Sikhs – the dominant community in Punjab were celebrating the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. Main celebrations were being held in Pakistan.
The farmers were of the view that any government leadership which for its self-serving agenda could endanger the food security of 1.2 billion people, could not be trusted. Thousands of farmers had camped at Delhi’s borders since last November and dozens died from heat, cold and Covid. The farmers were apprehensive of the new laws as these laws paved entry of government backed private players in agriculture sector, empowering them to become masters of farmers’ fate.
Modi took major U-turn when he announced to repeal the controversial Farm Laws. Before that his government had not taken any initiative to talk to farmers in recent months. And government ministers had been steadfastly insisting that the laws were good for farmers and there was no question of taking them back.
Farm unions were seeing this as a huge victory. But experts say the upcoming state elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh – both had a huge base of farmers – might have forced the decision.
Farmers in Punjab and Haryana were celebrating the news, raising flags of victory and distributing sweets. But they say the fight was not over.
The farmers had demanded promises from the government around assured prices for their crops to end their protest. The announcement had stunned political observers as well as those who both support and oppose the laws, many tweeted saying it was a huge victory for the farmers and a major climbdown for Modi. Experts were also taking Modi’s decision to repeal the contentious farm laws as a belated admission of the government’s haste and high-handedness.
The Modi government’s image among its supporters was that of resolute strength and invincibility. But reaction to the shock U-turn in India’s rural north, where Modi’s BJP faced key elections next year, had been less than positive, and termed as a worrying sign for a leader seeking to maintain his grip on national politics. There was one earlier example of the Narendra Modi government withdrawing similarly.
During its previous term, the Modi government had withdrawn a contentious ordinance, which was brought to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RFCTLARR) Act, 2013. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi might have bowed to farmers’ demands but leaders of six farmer unions who spearheaded the movement in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab states said they would not forgive a government that labeled protesting farmers as terrorists and anti-nationals. They said Modi threatened farmers’ livelihoods.