Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today in an announcement just months before elections in states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab that three controversial farm laws at the heart of massive farmer protests across the country for over a year will be withdrawn,
The announcement came on the Guru Purab festival, when Sikhism founder Guru Nanak’s birthday is celebrated across India, mainly in Punjab, where elections will be held in three months.
“Maybe something was lacking in our tapasya (efforts), which is why we could not convince some farmers about the laws. But today is Prakash Parv, not the time to blame anyone. Today, I want to tell the country that we have decided to repeal the three farm laws,” PM Modi said in an address to the nation.
“In the Parliament session starting in the end of this month, we will complete the process of repealing the three laws,” he said.
The Prime Minister began with a defence of the laws saying they were meant as reforms, mainly for small and marginal farmers in the country. But some farmers were convinced, others were not, he admitted.
“Whatever I did was for farmers. What I am doing is for the country.”
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have been camping outside Delhi since November 2020, demanding that the “black laws” be withdrawn. The BJP has faced massive anger in northern states, something it cannot afford as it preps for big elections ahead, including the 2024 national polls.
Rakesh Tikait, a top farmer leader, said the protests would not stop before the laws were repealed in the session starting on November 29.
The farmer protests were unrelenting through several rounds of talks between the government and farmers, disruptions in parliament and Supreme Court hearings.
“We haven’t been able to convince farmers. Only a section of them was opposing the laws, but we kept trying to educate and inform them,” PM Modi said.