Repeal of farm laws sets a precedent; say Oppn, farm leaders

Repeal of farm laws sets a precedent; say Oppn, farm leaders
Congress leader Jaiveer Shergill. Source: IANS

New Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS) Two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the repeal of the three contentious farm laws, ripples are still being felt across the spectrum with political and farm leaders opinion divided over the decision.

Questions are also being raised whether or not the decision to repeal the laws that the government advocated vigorously for months on end as a necessary reform would set a precedent for other reforms in the pipeline. Or for that matter, other bills proposed or acts already introduced, such as the Citizens' Amendment Act (CAA).

Giving it a Constitutional touch, secretary of All India Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Avik Saha, said, "I don't think this should be looked at as farmers' victory as we were not here for win or loss; rather we wanted to explain to our elected representatives what we want. This decision is actually a great victory for democracy and great defeat for authoritarianism."

The bud of democracy that has been shriveling, that bud has opened and looking to sunshine, the voice of people must be stronger and louder to compel the authoritarians to take note of them, he added.

Congress spokesperson, Jaiveer Shergill said, "Repealing of farm laws is admission of guilt, misadventure and miscalculation by PM Modi, who being intoxicated with power seems to have underestimated the power of democracy, will power and resolve of the farmers."

Stating that the repeal of farm laws will not absolve the BJP government of the crime of pushing 700 farmers to death, Shergill said, "The decision to repeal farm laws is a setback for PM Modi's dictatorial style of politics."

The IANS-CVoter snap opinion poll conducted across India hours after the announcement of the repeal of farm laws by the Prime Minister on Friday, Modi's image and political capital does not seem to have been dented. More than 52 per cent of the respondents said he has taken the right decision.

In response to another opinion whether or not the repeal of farm laws will encourage trade unions and their leaders to oppose changes to labour laws, close to 43 per cent of respondents seemed to agree, however, more than 25 per cent of the respondents could not express any definitive opinion, which means they are uncertain about labour reforms.

Terming that the decision could have an impact on other policy matters, Saha also said, "There is a consultation process as mandated by the Constitution and this decision has ensured that in case of further reforms such as those related to National Education Policy (NEP) or the labour code, if sufficient mobilization takes place, the government will be compelled to take cognizance of people's voices."

BJP spokesperson Prem Shukla denied it would be a precedent setting decision. "Prime Minister is not bothered about his own image, rather gives priority to what is in the interest of the nation. The unity and integrity of this nation is above all. (Therefore), there is no question of repeal or withdrawal of CAA or similar such laws. CAA has been the country's commitment since 1947, since the time of Mahatma Gandhi. Congress leaders from (first Prime Minister) Pandit Nehru till (UPA era Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh have betrayed Gandhiji."