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See clear element of political expediency in the decision to repeal farm laws, says Vinod Sharma

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Vinod Sharma, Political Editor of Hindustan Times, said it seems the government has been having a rethink on the issue for some time now. He said the BJP is at pains to re-establish social contact with the farming community across India because there are pockets of resentment, and alienation across India regarding these three farm laws.

See clear element of political expediency in the decision to repeal farm laws, says Vinod Sharma
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti announced that the BJP government has decided to repeal all the three controversial farm laws in the upcoming winter session of parliament.
On the timing of the announcements, Vinod Sharma, Political Editor of Hindustan Times, said it appeared that the government was rethinking for a while now because just a few days back, a BJP delegation from Punjab met the Prime Minister pleading with him to reopen the Kartarpur corridor, which then was opened a couple of days later. And now the announcement comes on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti. So, if one were to see the chronology, one would get the political narrative, he added.
The announcement made by the Prime Minister today was unexpected because so far the government had said they would continue to hold dialogue and discussions with the farmers and that there was no question of going back on the farm laws. The Supreme Court had to step in and hold the laws in suspension.
Sharma said, “Democracy is a beautiful thing and that is why they call it the best system man invented to govern himself. You see, for the simple reason that occasions arise for some of the strongest leaders to stoop to conquer and that is exactly what the government is seeking to do in the run-up to elections in Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh. The impact of the farmers' agitation, regardless of the official claims and the BJP’s assertions that they were just a small group of farmers from Haryana and Punjab and some parts of UP who are agitating, the distress was spread far and wide,” said Sharma.
According to Sharma, the government at the very outset should have consulted these states in an exhaustive manner and they should have brought up modern laws, allowing the states to improvise that law as per their local conditions. This was suggested to the government but they did not allow an exhaustive discussion, a full-length discussion even in Parliament.
“I personally feel that legislation-making in this country needs to be more inclusive. And regardless of the numbers, governments, when it comes to issues that touch a huge mass of people, have to be circumspect. I think, that this will help the government, help the BJP, at least go to the people in Punjab with some talking points, and in western UP,” asserted Sharma.
Sharma is also of the clear view that there is an element of political expediency in this gesture of the Prime Minister. Nothing comes for free and the BJP is at pains to re-establish social contact with the farming community across India because there are pockets of resentment, and alienation across India in so far as these three farm laws are concerned.
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Moreover, these committees which are now being contemplated are no substitute for parliamentary committees. If these laws had gone to a select committee, as was being demanded by the Opposition, that select committee where every party would be represented could have carried out talks with the farmers before coming to some conclusions about the draft Bill. And thereafter, upon reaching a consensus, if a consensus was possible, it could have been placed back in Parliament, he further said.
According to him, there is a lack of trust between the farmers and the government. On many counts, all kinds of names have been called – they have been called Khalistanis, they have been called Naxals, etc. and that kind of public discourse, with a huge mass of people who count a lot when it comes to elections, was not appropriate. So, the Prime Minister's gesture in not just rolling back the laws, but also rolling back the anger - I wonder how much of the anger will be rolled back - is important. But at least a beginning has been made, said Sharma.
However, as was being stated repeatedly by the farmers and the leaders, the key question at the centre of the whole dispute is the legal guarantee for MSP and that is going to be a very tricky issue to tackle and may have to be left to the committee. Also, whether the farmers will agree to wait out the decision of the committee because committees don't deliver instantaneously and elections are around the corner in these two states. So, one will have to wait and see what happens in Parliament when it reopens on the November 29, he specified.
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