In a dramatic address to the nation that took political pundits by surprise Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Centre’s move to repeal the three contentious farm laws . The laws which forced the farmers to agitate for over a year demanding its withdrawal. The move is first major climbdown by the Modi government.
A huge u- turn from the government who remained adamant that come what may there will not by any repeal. The protests by thousands of farmers do not worry us was the narrative. This raises a pertinent question that the nation wants to know – Why bring in or for the matter enact a law where one has to apologise as the Prime Minister Narendra Modi did . Accepting that the Centre had failed to make the farmers understand the finer points of the laws .
“While apologising to the nation, I want to say with a sincere and pure heart that maybe something was lacking in our tapasya (dedication) that we could not explain the truth, as clear as the light of the diya, to some of our farmer brothers. 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 the end of this month, we will complete the process of repealing the three laws,” PM Modi said during his address to the nation .
The government woke up after our 750 people died… Where have they withdrawn 3 farm laws? Where are the papers? Show us the papers…we will continue the protest…When farm laws are withdrawn, we will return…: Rakesh Tikait, Bharatiya Kisan Union was quoted as saying. Tikait’s words indicate the trust deficit . Something the government will have to mend in the road ahead.
The the government is facing the heat after the repeal is palpable . It did not do its homework right . The law was hurriedly pushed through and without proper discussion parliament and hence facing the flak . Senior Congress Leader in Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma tweeted, Government must realise that enacting important laws laws in a hurry bypassing parliamentary scrutiny and excluding stakeholders from consultations results in confrontation and conflict. It must give up the undemocratic practice and refer all important bills to parliamentary standing or select committees for building consensus.
Another Congress leader Jairam Ramesh was more upfront when he tweeted, First, bulldoze laws in Parliament. Then face unprecedented protests. Thereafter, confront election realities in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, particularly. Finally, after much appeal, repeal. Kisan-ity prevails at last! I salute the tenacity of our kisans who did not give up.
The repeal is a loss of face for Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. He held as many as 11 rounds of talks with various farmer leaders but no breakthrough . It is in sharp contrast to the GST Bill that was passed with consensus by the late then finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Jaitley reached out to the opposition and had the magnanimity. An attribute Tomar lacked and his inept handling of the farm laws and the agitation has smashed the government’s image. It reiterates the critics repeated criticism of been high on ego , arrogance and one which enjoys liberty thanks to its brute majority .
And this arrogance of power has been further emboldened by news channels who on several issues have blatantly gone by the narrative as dictated by the government on super prime time 24X7 . Note how there was eerie silence on prime time by the anchors who refused to ask Amit Shah about his famous slogan during West Bengal assembly polls 2021 campaign #abki baar 200 paar. Why it was a disaster ?
Senior Congress leader and three -time Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor made a scathing attack on the current dispensation after PM Modi announced the move to repeal the three farm laws . The Thiruvananthapuram MP tweeted, Sometimes a brute majority isn’t enough. Democracy isn’t just about winning elections every five years. It is about respecting the people between elections. A lesson learned seven years too late by our feckless government.
It is not the repeal of the three farm laws by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that is making news . The announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has raised questions. Senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram has in a tweet made a big charge that the government needs to come clean on at the earliest . Chidambaram wrote, Where were these worthy leaders and their wise advice in the last 15 months? Did you notice that the PM made the announcement without holding a Cabinet meeting? It is only under the BJP that laws are made and unmade without prior Cabinet approval.
Bottom line is that with the repeal of the farm laws the pressure will mount on the government in the coming days . The five – year extension to CBI and ED chief’s will be another headache. Moreover, as of now the extension is laughable as none of the economic offenders – Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi have returned or brought back to India .
Jammu and Kashmir has not made any headway since the removal of Article 370 and article 35 A on August 6, 2019 . The latest Hyderpora encounter ( alleged to be fake with LG Manoj Sinha ordering magisterial probe) has only deepened the the distrust. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference vice- president Omar Abdullah took a dig at the Modi government and its kashmir policy when he tweeted , This is the naya Kashmir of 2021. This is how the J&K police fulfils @PMOIndia promise to remove “dil ki doori & Dilli se doori. It’s outrageous that the J&K administration did not allow the families to conduct a peaceful sit in protest.
The withdrawal of farm laws has opened the flood gates it seems . Article 370, 35 A in Jammu and Kashmir and CAA, NRC would be on the radar of the opposition now . Already the intent is clear as tweeted by former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who wrote , Desecrating Indian constitution to dismember & disempower J&K was done only to please their voters. I hope they course correct here too & reverse the illegal changes made in J&K since August 2019.
Further there is no news about the Rules under the the 2019 CAA act . It is yet to be notified. Thus raising questions on its implementation in Assam . Issues of the National Register of Citizenship – NRC as released on August 31, 2019 are yet to be done . Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma indicated the hesitancy when he reportedly said his government would re-verify the National Register of Citizens (NRC) list.
With no ground implementation the Home Minister Amit Shah’s boast of an all India NRC lies in tatters as of now. It may be recalled that on Jul 01, 2020, Amit Shah then said that the government will roll out an exercise for a countrywide National Register of Citizens. At ‘Purvoday Hindustan’, an event organised by HT media group’s Hindi daily Hindustan in Ranchi, Shah reiterated the need for the NRC to detect illegal aliens in the country. “Can an Indian go and live illegally in US, UK, Russia? No, then how can other nationals reside in India without legal documentation? That’s why I believe National Register of Citizens (NRC) should be implemented all over the country,” he said.
Shah’s exuberance was however short- lived as in a stunning statement and contradictory to Shah’s line , Minister of state for home Nityanand Rai in written reply in Rajya Sabha On February 4, 2020 said “Till now, the government has not taken any decision to prepare National Register of Indian Citizens at the national level.”
Lastly , The repeal of the farm laws has put the Modi government under pressure . How it deals with the combative opposition boosted by farm laws repeal remains to be seen . And the Prime Minister Narendra Modi must live up to his often said slogan – Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas. And ensure it is seen in action and not just yet another rhetoric. The stage is now set for an explosive stormy winter session of parliament from November 29. Watch this space !