The Aftermath: The Farm Laws Repeal Bill
Keeping Narendra Modi’s promise to repeal the three contentious farm bills, the Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 was passed in both houses of the parliament on the first day of its winter session. This was passed amid protests by the opposition MPs due to the bill being passed within 10 minutes by voice vote and, without debate.
The three contentious farm laws repealed — Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 — were popular, as per Narendra Modi, yet they are being repealed as a “small section” of the farmers continued protesting.
“It appears there might be some shortcomings in our ‘tapasya’ (labour), because some of our farmer friends are unwilling to accept these laws, that is why we have decided to repeal them”, he said.
According to a survey conducted by The Print, Narendra Modi was right. While a majority of farmers in northern states such as Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh were against the Farm Laws, there was overwhelming support for the laws from the rest of the two-thirds of the country.
It has been alleged that this move has been made keeping in mind the upcoming elections in UP and Punjab. It is likely that the Bharatiya Janata Party will benefit heavily in the said elections. At the most, there might be minor gains in Punjab, on the other hand in western UP -- which elects about 60-80 of the state’s 403 legislators, BJP might reap the benefits of this move. This will further concretise BJP’s seats on the ruling side of the parliament in the upcoming elections in 2024.
The drawbacks of this move might be short term but will also leave a deep impact on the image of BJP’s leadership. Taking back a law, by succumbing to protests is very likely to tarnish Narendra Modi’s image as a strong and unbeatable leader. There is also the possibility of the opposition feeling stronger and possibly even overestimating their capabilities. Or, this could be the strategy all along -- politicians don’t reach where they are without scheming to increase their popularity.
Mandal, D. (2021, November 23). Farm laws repeal wasn’t about UP, Punjab elections. The answer lies in what Savarkar wrote. ThePrint. https://theprint.in/opinion/farm-laws-repeal-wasnt-about-up-punjab-elections-the-answer-lies-in-what-savarkar-wrote/770390/
Biswas, S. (2021, November 19). Farm laws: Why India PM Narendra Modi rolled back vexed reforms. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-59306356
Deshmukh, Y. (2021, November 22). Our survey shows farm laws are popular. Modi was correct in his assessment. ThePrint. https://theprint.in/opinion/our-survey-shows-farm-laws-are-popular-modi-was-correct-in-assessment/769848/
Chaturvedi, R. M. (2021, November 29). Parliament repeals farm laws without debate. The Economic Times. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/parliament-repeals-farm-laws-without-debate/articleshow/87990554.cms