Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that his government was repealing the three farm reform laws in the upcoming parliament session, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said that the ongoing anti-farm laws protest would not be withdrawn anytime soon and that they would wait for Sansad to repeal the three controversial farm laws.
Tikait said that the decision to call off the demonstrations would be taken only after the contentious legislations are repealed in the parliament. He stressed that the government should talk to farmers over the issue of minimum support price (MSP) of crops and other matters.
The three amended laws sought to give farmers freedom to sell their produce anywhere in India while continuing with the provision of minimum support prices (MSP), which farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh had been protesting against since 26 November 2000. Ironically, these farm pockets are the only ones that have managed to extract MSP from the government year after year regardless of the quality of their yields.
“The protest will not be withdrawn immediately, we will wait for the day when the farm laws are repealed in Parliament. Along with MSP, the government should talk to farmers on other issues too,” Tikait tweeted in Hindi.
Addressing the nation on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti, the prime minister said the three farm laws were for the benefit of farmers but “we couldn’t convince a section of farmers despite best efforts”.
Meanwhile, for reasons known best to the Supreme Court, it has been sitting on the report submitted by the committee formed by it, which has reportedly found no anti-farmer provisions in the three amendments, since March.
The goal of the three farm laws was to empower farmers, especially small farmers, the prime minister said. While the union government withdrew the three controversial farm laws, the Indian National Congress (INC) was quick to term it as a ”decision taken in view of the forthcoming elections”.
P Chidambaram said, “PM’s announcement on the withdrawal of the three farm laws is not inspired by a change of policy or a change of heart. It is impelled by fear of elections!”
“What cannot be achieved by democratic protests can be achieved by the fear of impending elections! Anyway, it is a great victory for the farmers and for the Congress party which was unwavering in its opposition to the farm laws,” he said.
The government may have considered the politics around it, “Repealing of black laws a step in the right direction… Satyagrah of Kisan morcha gets historic success, You`re sacrifice has paid dividends… Revival of farming in Punjab through a road map should be the top priority for the Pb govt …accolades,” said Navjot Singh Sidhu.
The three farm laws that were passed last year around the same time have been a cause of widespread agitation with a consortium of farmers staging a protest, especially in northwest India and at Delhi’s doorsteps and earlier within the national capital too, demanding the government to repeal it.
“It seems some of the farmers are still not convinced by our sincere efforts. We have decided to repeal the three farm laws. The constitutional process to repeal these laws would be completed during the Parliament Session that would start at the end of this month,” Modi said in his address to the nation.
The prime minister requested the agitating farmers to go back to their home. He announced to form a committee to discuss all farm related issues that will have states` representation too.
The government decision comes ahead of the state polls which are slated early next year in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, which have a sizeable population of farmers. In the recent setback in the bypolls, the government, which was advocating the benefits of three laws, decided to withdraw it.