FARM LAWS are gone, long live the protests!! As the enormity of Prime Minister’s repealing of three farm laws sinks in, the biggest question is–what may have forced the Prime Minister’s hand at this stage?
One: The massively growing perception that the government was at fault for not listening to the woes of protesting farmers. Well not that the Centre didn’t, it’s just that they listened to only one section of farmers. There was, without doubt, a section of farmers who were happy with the Centre’s moves. But they were in a minority. Yet Modi sarkar went all out to attack the naysayers. Don’t forget, none less than top cabinet ministers like Piyush Goel and Ravi Shankar Prasad had described the protestors as anti-India forces.
Two: Spate of judicial pronouncements! From High Court to the Supreme Court, the perception was gaining ground that the government was unwilling to engage. This wasn’t like anti-CAA protests. On CAA, it could have been spun into an ideological battle. Here, with Farmers, no matter what the spin, it didn’t stick.
Three: Fear of losing momentum in Uttar Pradesh. The battle-hardened Rakesh Tikait had taken a pledge that he will stop BJP March in western UP. While he did reach Lakhimpur Kheri to broker a truce between families of farmers mowed down allegedly by the son of a union minister and Yogi sarkar, he had already tasted blood. No wonder Tikait says won’t call off protests till don’t get MSP guaranteed in the law books. In the dominant years of Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, the western UP region always ended up being a determining factor. Now Amit Shah himself has taken the mantle of looking after this region. Sources say that in all his meetings with BJP high command, UP CM Yogi Adityanath had constantly pointed out the need of settling the farmers’ protest question. There is a view that Yogi himself may choose to contest from Mathura to assuage the protesting farmers even more.
Four: The Lakhimpur Kheri incident: The visuals of a car running over protesting farmers, no matter what the earlier provocation had clearly upset the minders of Modi sarkar. Subsequent anger and dismay displayed by the Supreme Court in the handling investigations by UP police only added to the embarrassment. Surprising still Rajesh Mishra, MoS home whose son Ashish is being painted as the real alleged murderer of protesting farmers, have still not been acted against.
Five: After running into “suit boot ki sarkar “jibe in his first term, the perception that Modi was selling into corporates was hurting Modi and his minders. He did try to push this as a real reformatory move but to no avail. The one thing that this Prime Minister doesn’t like is to be portrayed as anti-poor. From building toilets for all to water for all to pucca roofs for all. Modi is India’s real combo of hard-right politics and left economics. The government’s inability to break through the farmers’ protest was beginning to hurt this carefully crafted image.
And hence the happy Gurupurab occasion was chosen for the political bombshell. The opposition has now got itself a hard political talking point while Modi will have to do all the explaining now on why his government first went with the move only to back off after well over a year.