Are the voices of farmers only be heard after losing hundreds of lives? Prime Minister Modi's announcement of repealing the farm laws suggested that they won't be heard unless there is something huge is coming up - assembly polls in five states, particularly in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, where the farmers' protests against the farm laws pose a vital gamechanger in the elections and that it will go against the ruling BJP regime. While the opposition leaders welcome the revocation as a big victory for the farmers, they spell a doubt over Modi's nature of the announcement.
On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that the three farm laws will be repealed in the upcoming session of Parliament. The contentious farm laws that were staunchly backed by the BJP and its affiliates are now going to be withdrawn by the BJP government headed by Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister assured that the farm laws will be withdrawn as soon as Parliament meets for the budget session. In his address, Narendra Modi had defended the farm laws as an attempt to help small farmers sell their produce wherever they wished to by liberalizing agricultural produce marketing.
He said, "The decision was taken with a pure heart. Yet, there must have been some shortcoming in our devotion. This isn't a day to blame anyone. I am announcing that all three farm laws will be repealed by the government by the end of the month when Parliament meets, using all constitutional measures for the same." "I appeal to all my farmer brothers to go back home and to farming on this auspicious day", he added. The Prime Minister had also revolved around his work on the welfare of farmers, as Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and three other states are going to host crucial assembly polls next year.
Narendra Modi has highlighted that whatever he did, he did for farmers. He said, "Whatever I did, I did for farmers. What I'm doing, is for the country. With your blessings, I never left out anything in my hard work. Today I assure you that I'll now work even harder, so that your dreams, nation's dreams can be realised." As the three farm laws are repealed, what's next on the court? The Prime Minister said that a committee will be formed to look into the formation of an efficient base for the Minimum Selling Price (MSP).
How did the Opposition league react?
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi reacted in strong words that farmers had made the head of arrogance hang low. He said, "With their (farmers) satyagraha, anndata of the country made the head of arrogance hang low. Congratulations on this victory against injustice." Another Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that the Centre feels guilty over the death of 700 farmers. He said, "It's farmers' victory, who have been protesting against farm laws for so many days; over 700 died. Seems like Centre is guilty... But who'll take responsibility for the hardships that farmers had to go through? We will raise these issues in Parliament."
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has said that the farm laws were repealed over the fear of losing upcoming elections. He said, "What cannot be achieved by democratic protests can be achieved by the fear of impending elections! 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! Anyway, it is a great victory for the farmers and for the Congress party which was unwavering in its opposition to the farm laws."
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, "When farmers were being killed, batons were being used&they were being arrested -who was doing it? Your govt. Today you say that the laws will be repealed. How are we going to trust you? I'm happy that Govt understood that nobody is bigger than farmers in this nation." "They (BJP) can see in surveys that the situation is not right. So, they have come to apologize before polls", she added.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has joined the club of welcoming the announcement. In his statement, he has welcomed the announcement to repeal three farm laws and said that it is a victory for farmers' agitation. He said that in a democracy, the views of people have to be respected and this has been history. MK Stalin's Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Bhagel has said, "Farmers won & Modi's arrogance lost. It's the victory of farmers who were protesting for over a yr while being called terrorists, China-Pak supporters. What did BJP not call them? In the end, it had to bow down. Modi ji & BJP should apologise to the nation & farmers."
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has welcomed the announcement as a victory for farmers. He said, "The repealing of three farm laws is the victory of the legendary farmer's strike. Indian farmers have written a great page in the history of class struggle for an egalitarian world. Greetings to farmers who fought tirelessly overcoming several challenges." Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, "This day will be written in golden letters in India's history like Independence Day, Republic Day. It's the victory of democracy, not just farmers'. Govt made all efforts to disrupt anti-farm laws protest, called them Khalistani, terrorists, but farmers' didn't give up."
"Farmers proved that the Centre eventually will have to listen to the people. Water cannons, lathis dried up and nails melted against farmer's determination. Govt made all efforts to disrupt the protest but farmers' didn't give up & fought well", he added. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot noted that the efforts of farmers have paid off. He said, "Farmers' efforts have paid off. Given the circumstances in the country, PM was forced to withdraw 3 farm laws, Today's decision was in view of UP elections. PM & BJP putting in all efforts to win polls. You never know if they get a shock like West Bengal."
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has welcomed Modi's decision to repeal three farm laws. He said, "Welcome PM Narendra Modi’s decision to repeal all three farm laws, in the best interests of the country and its farmers. Your farms and families have been waiting for a long and they will be happy to welcome you back. BJD continues to stand with the farmers." Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Patil said, "Had this decision been taken earlier so many farmers wouldn't have died. Govt should've initiated dialogues earlier but that didn't happen, farmers were not heard. They had to sit down on the streets. They got their demand fulfilled today. It's their victory."
Anyway, it is a great victory for the farmers and for the Congress party which was unwavering in its opposition to the farm laws— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) November 19, 2021
It's farmers' victory, who have been protesting against farm laws for so many days; over 700 died. Seems like Centre is guilty... But who'll take responsiblity for the hardships that farmers had to go through? We will raise these issues in Parliament: Congress' Mallikarjun Kharge pic.twitter.com/XKBm8uShk8— ANI (@ANI) November 19, 2021
When farmers were being killed, batons were being used&they were being arrested -who was doing it? Your govt. Today you say that the laws will be repealed. How are we going to trust you? I'm happy that Govt understood that nobody is bigger than farmers in this nation: Priyanka GV pic.twitter.com/ouIQmR88bZ— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) November 19, 2021
The repealing of 3 #FarmLaws is the victory of the legendary farmer's strike. Indian farmers have written a great page in the history of class struggle for an egalitarian world. Greetings to farmers who fought tirelessly overcoming several challenges: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan pic.twitter.com/hppfKIBUsx— ANI (@ANI) November 19, 2021