Three controversial farm laws at the heart of massive farmer protests across the country for over a year will be withdrawn, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today in a stunning announcement just months before elections in states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
Addressing the nation on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti, the prime minister said the three laws were for the benefit of farmers but “we couldn’t convince a section of farmers despite best efforts”.
“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,” he said.
“I would request all my protesting farmer friends, today is the auspicious day of Guru Purab, return home to your fields and your families and make a new beginning, let us move forward afresh.”
The goal of the three farm laws was to empower farmers, especially small farmers, he said. The agriculture budget has risen by five times with over Rs 1.25 lakh crore being spent annually, Modi said. He also highlighted his govt’s measures to benefit small farmers.
Having “expressed his apologies Modi has further said “ I have experienced farmers’ difficulties, challenges from very close quarters in my five decades of public life,”
Reacting on PM Modi’s farm laws repeal promise Farmer Union leader Rakesh Tikait who spearheaded the movement says “ Do it in Parliament, and guarantee MSP ( Minimum Support Price ) ”
The country’s ‘annadatas’ have made “arrogance bow its head” through ‘satyagraha’, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Friday and described the Centre’s decision to repeal the farm laws as a “victory against injustice”.
“Country’s ‘annadatas’ (food providers) have made arrogance bow its head through satyagraha,” Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
“Congratulations on this victory against injustice!” the former Congress chief said. “‘Jai Hind, Jai Hind ka Kisan’,” he added.
What about the families of the 700-750 farmers who died during agitation against these black laws? They’ve withdrawn the laws now that Assembly elections are around the corner. They’ve lost on this front & they’ll face defeat there (in elections) too says RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav
Former Union minister P Chidambaram on Friday said fear of electoral defeat forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi to retreat and announce the repeal of the three farm laws that were enacted last year and triggered protracted farmer protests.
Chidambaram said three weeks ago, Modi said in Uttar Pradesh that anybody, who opposes the farm laws is anti-national, and that they will never withdraw them.
“What has happened today? What has happened is they have feedback that they will lose very badly in the next round of elections in five states including Goa. It is the fear of losing elections which has impelled the PM to suddenly announce at 9 am this (Friday) morning that he has decided to withdraw the farm laws.”