In a surprising move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced that the government of India will withdraw the controversial farm laws. Addressing the nation on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti, the prime minister said that the three laws were for the benefit of farmers but “we couldn’t convince a section of farmers despite best efforts” and therefore will repeal the law. Modi has finally surrendered to the demands of the farmers. This is only the second time in his regime that the PM has backtracked from a stand. However, this has come at a cost. Around 700 farmers have lost their lives and many have lost their livelihood.
PM Modi’s surprise announcement was hailed by the BJP and its allies. The opposition also welcomed the move but linked it to the upcoming assembly elections in crucial states, especially Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
Also, the prime minister has made his announcement before the announcement of crucial assembly elections in five states – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Goa. The BJP’S performance in the civic polls in Punjab earlier this year, and in assembly bye-elections in Haryana were dismal. Meanwhile, the farmers welcomed the government move but set conditions to withdraw their agitation. Learning from their past experience, the farmers are still suspicious of the government. They are cautious and have every reason to be. But there is no denying that farmers have won a massive victory and, in the process, dented the invincible image of the Modi-led BJP government. This victory will definitely embolden others and will pave the way for further confrontations between the government and opposition voices.