3 farm bill withdrawn
Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally capitulated on the year-long protest by farmers and withdrew the three contentious farm laws (farm bill). So, what was the last straw that broke the camel’s back? On Friday, November 19, 2021, in an unexpected address to the nation, Modi appeared distressed and not very confident, while saying that he could not convince farmers of the merits and benefits of the three farm laws. In a democracy, it is good to see the administrators listen to the voice of the people. The will of the people, thousands of farmers protesting for more than a year, prevailed and Modi relented and withdrew the three bills.
The Bills were bulldozed through the Parliament
Let us analyze where things went wrong for Modi. There are several, but first, let us look at the way these bills were bulldozed through the two houses, especially in the Upper House, the Rajya Sabha. These three crucial bills were passed as Ordinances in June 2020, when the entire country was in lockdown, and then passed in Parliament stealthily in September 2020. More significantly, there was an intrusion on part of the Centre on what essentially is a state subject, agriculture. With an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha and reasonable clout in the Rajya Sabha, surely these bills could have been debated before being voted on, with inputs from the States? What was the urgency?
When people started reading the fine print, they noticed that there was an addition of the trade sector too in these bills. To make matters worse, billions of dollars as Foreign Direct Investment started coming into Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani’s companies engaged in the retail sector. While India was in lockdown in 2020, soon after these controversial laws were passed, these two companies got a bonanza of around 15 billion dollars as foreign investments or in the sale of shares to foreign companies. Even if there was nothing wrong, there was a general feeling that these three laws were meant to benefit Ambani and Adani companies. Witness how Jio towers were attacked, which frankly was wrong on part of the protestors. So was flying a flag of some Sikh group on Republic Day at the Red Fort.
By October 2020, farmers from Punjab and Haryana were on the streets and we have seen the mayhem on the 2021 Republic Day celebrations when the agitating farmers created chaos in Red Fort. With Uttar Pradesh and farmers-centric Punjab going to polls in February 2022, this move could be seen as a realization of the ground realities that unless feelings are soothed, the ruling party could be in trouble in terms of getting enough numbers for the Presidential elections, which will follow in June 2022. If the Opposition manages to put their candidate in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, things can get difficult for Modi.
Undo the temple takeover law passed in Uttarakhand
Another similar bulldozed decision by the BJP that needs to be reversed is the law to take over the temples of Uttarakhand. Modi must tell the State BJP Government to repeal this bad law to take over the administration of temples in Uttarakhand. BJP is a national party and cannot argue for freeing the temples from under government control in one state and doing the same themselves in another.
There are lots of perceptions about Modi (right or wrong, only he can clarify), that he is egotistic or suffers from an inferiority complex. He must consult all, at least inside his party before taking a decision. There are a lot of wise men and women in the BJP who will give him excellent counsel. Stop these monologues through TV and Radio and start doing Press Conferences. Encourage Ministers to express free and frank opinions in Cabinet meetings. Shed fear psychosis and the ‘I, Me, Myself’ attitude and be inclusive.
In conclusion, it is time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to become a true democrat in letter and spirit.
 Farm laws: India PM Narendra Modi repeals controversial reforms – Nov 19, 2021, BBC
 Modi govt’s three rushed ordinances can help agriculture, but not farmers – Jun 10, 2020, The Print
 How Mukesh Ambani, Gautam Adani were caught in crossfire over farming laws – Jan 17, 2021, Business Standard
 Why Indian farmers believe new laws are rigged to favour India’s richest man – Dec 08, 2020, Quartz India
 Reinventing ‘Dissent’: Attacks On Jio’s Telecom Infra – Dec 30, 2020, Swarajya
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