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Thatcher or Anna moment? Why Modi’s choice on farmers’ protest will shape future politics

Modi can retreat like Manmohan Singh did under pressure from the Anna Hazare movement, or push farm reforms in Margaret Thatcher's style.

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Has the farmers’ blockade of Delhi brought Narendra Modi to his Thatcher moment or Anna moment? It is up to Modi to answer that question as India waits. It will write the course of India’s political economy, even electoral politics, in years to come.

For clarity, a Thatcher moment would mean when a big, audacious and risky push for reform, that threatens established structures and entrenched vested interests, brings an avalanche of opposition. That is what Margaret Thatcher faced with her radical shift to the economic Right. She locked horns with it, won, and became the Iron Lady. If she had given in under pressure, she’d just be a forgettable footnote in world history.

Anna moment is easier to understand. It is more recent. It was also located in Delhi. Unlike Thatcher who fought and crushed the unions and the British Left, Manmohan Singh and his UPA gave in to Anna Hazare, holding a special Parliament session, going down to him on their knees, implicitly owning up to all big corruption charges. Singh ceded all moral authority and political capital.

By the time Anna returned victorious for the usual rest & recreation at the Jindal fat farm in Bangalore, the Manmohan Singh government’s goose had been cooked. Anna was victorious not because he got the Lokpal Bill. Because that isn’t what he and his ‘managers’ were after. Their mission was to destroy UPA-2. They succeeded. Of course, helped along by the spinelessness as well as guilelessness of the UPA.

Modi and his counsels would do well to look at both instances with contrasting outcomes as they confront the biggest challenge in their six-and-a-half years. Don’t compare it with the anti-CAA movement. That suited the BJP politically by deepening polarisation; this one does the opposite. It’s a cruel thing to say, but you can’t politically make “Muslims” out of the Sikhs.

That “Khalistani hand” nonsense was tried, and it bombed. It was as much of a misstep as leaders of the Congress calling Anna Hazare “steeped in corruption, head to toe”. Remember that principle in marketing — nothing fails more spectacularly than an obvious lie. As this Khalistan slur was.

The anti-CAA movement involved Muslims and some Leftist intellectual groups. You could easily isolate and even physically crush them. We are merely stating a political reality. The Modi government did not even see the need to invite them for talks. With the farmers, the response has been different.

Besides, this crisis has come on top of multiple others that are defying resolution. The Chinese are not about to end their dharna in Ladakh, the virus is raging and the economy, downhill for six quarters, has been in a free fall lately. Because politically, economically, strategically and morally the space is now so limited, this becomes the Modi government’s biggest challenge.

Also read: Shambles over farmers’ protest shows Modi-Shah BJP needs a Punjab tutorial

Modi has a complaint that he is given too little credit as an economic reformer. That he has brought in the bankruptcy law, GST, PSU bank consolidation, FDI relaxations and so on, but still too many people, especially the most respected economists, do not see him as a reformer.

There is no denying that he has done some political heavy lifting with these reformist steps. But some, especially GST, have lost their way because of poor groundwork and execution. And certainly, all that the sudden demonetisation did was to break the economy’s momentum. His legacy, so far, is of slowing down and then reversing India’s growth.

Having inherited an economy where 8 per cent growth was the new normal, now RBI says it will be 8 per cent, but in the negative. It isn’t the record anybody wanted in his seventh year, with India’s per capita GDP set to fall below Bangladesh’s, according to an October IMF estimate.

The pandemic brought Modi the “don’t waste a crisis” opportunity. If Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh with a minority government could use the economic crisis of 1991 to carve out a good place for themselves in India’s economic history, why couldn’t he now? That is how a bunch of audacious moves were announced in a kind of pandemic package. The farm reform laws are among the most spectacular of these. Followed by labour laws.

This is comparable now to the change Margaret Thatcher had dared to bring. She wasn’t dealing with multiple other crises like Modi now, but then she also did not have the kind of almost total sway that Modi has over national politics. Any big change causes fear and protests. But this is at a scale that concerns 60 per cent of our population, connected with farming in different ways. That he and his government could have done a better job of selling it to the farmers is a fact, but that is in the past.

The Anna movement has greater parallels, physically and visually, with the current situation. Like India Against Corruption, the farmers’ protest also positions itself in the non-political space, denying its platform to any politician. Leading lights of popular culture are speaking and singing for it. Again, there is widespread popular sympathy as farmers are seen as virtuous, and victims. Just like the activists. Its supporters are using social media just as brilliantly as Anna’s.

Also read: How protesting farmers have kept politicians out of their agitation for over 2 months

There are some differences too. Unlike UPA-2, this prime minister is his own master. He doesn’t need to defer to someone in another Lutyens’ bungalow. He has personal popularity enormously higher than Manmohan Singh’s, great facility with words and a record of consistently winning elections for his party.

But this farmers’ stir looks ugly for him. His politics is built so centrally on the pillar of “messaging” that pictures of salt-of-the-earth farmers with weather-beaten faces, cooking and sharing ‘langars’, offering these to all comers, then refusing government hospitality at the talks and eating their own food brought from the gurdwara while sitting on the floor, and the widespread derision of the “Khalistani” charge is just the kind of messaging he doesn’t want. In his and his party’s scheme of things, the message is the politics.

Thatcher had no such issues, and Manmohan Singh had no chips to play with. How does Modi deal with this now? The temptation to retreat will be great. You can defer, withdraw the bills, send them to the select committee, embrace the farmers and buy time. It isn’t as if the Modi-Shah BJP doesn’t know how to retreat. It did so on the equally bold land acquisition bill, reeling under the ‘suit-boot ki sarkar’ punch. So, what about another ‘tactical retreat’?

It will be a disaster, and worse than Manmohan Singh’s to the Anna movement. At the heart of Modi’s political brand proposition is a ‘strong’ government. It was early days when he retreated on the land acquisition bill. The lack of a Rajya Sabha majority was an alibi. Another retreat now will shatter that ‘strongman’ image. The opposition will finally see him as fallible.

At the same time, farmers blockading the capital makes for really bad pictures. These aren’t nutcases of ‘Occupy Wall Street’. Farmers are at the heart of India. Plus, they have the time. Anybody with elementary familiarity with farming knows that once wheat and mustard, which is most of the rabi crop in the north, is planted, there isn’t that much to do until early April.

You can’t evict them as in the many Shaheen Baghs, and you can’t let them hang on. Even a part surrender will finish your authority. Because then protesters against labour reform will block the capital. That’s why how Modi answers this Thatcher or Anna moment question will determine national politics going ahead. Our wish, of course, is that he will choose Thatcher over Anna. It will be a tragedy if even Modi were to lose his nerve over his boldest reforms.

Also read: Punjab’s frustration & anger is rooted in its steep decline, now visible in farmers’ protests


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  1. Dear All,
    This comparison is very irrelevant.
    On top of that it is concluded in the end. Conclusion left reader with no room to think.
    How today can be compared with past,
    How circumstances of England can be compared with India.
    How this situation can be compared solely on basis of What Modi will do.
    How about listening to people of India,
    How about having discussion and checking facts before making bills.
    I do not expect much from Modi, he is basically illiterate and worst thing happened to India along with Shah but as a writer you have social responsibility and moral duty to educate people.
    Instead of checking the relevance of this bill you are making it a Modi is going to give up in front of people of India or not.
    Shame on you as a writer.

  2. Well, its a fashion to berate and call Dr Manmohan Singh names. Everyone knows that he is not going to come and defend himself or he doesn’t have friends/henchmen to defend him. Here was a decent human being, extremely intelligent, highly educated economist and honest man. But it helps everyone to project him as a weak man and fire from his shoulders.
    Be that as it may, looking at the merits of the farm law, there is one glaring point on contract farming that scares the hell out of me as a common citizen. Constitution provides every one a right to legal recourse. But imagine the farmers have to come to street even to get this basic right. So in the scenario this law goes through as mr gupta hopes, farmers will not have right for legal recourse. Irrespective of the efficacy of the courts as a citizen everyone should have that right. Can we identify any law in the corporate world where there is no right for legal recourse. Would the telecom industry be happy with TRAI arbitrating on all their disputes?
    Apart from this, i haven’t seen or heard or read any economist worth his salt suggesting innovative out of the box solutions to provide farmers his dues, One of the biggest concerns of contract farming is the profit the corporates makes while the producer who is the first in the value chain makes pittance. Why not look at revenue/profit sharing model in such Contract farming so that everyone in the value chain gets a proper pie of the profit? This model exist in many other sectors across the world to create a level playing field. Similar out of the box solutions will have to be thought through
    In an economy where there are employment and under employment issues, what will you do with the farmers who are being moved out of farming economy? What alternatives for them are being thought off?

  3. I think, Mr Gupta and most of the pro-liberalisation opinion makers are missing the larger point in the scheme of things. While it is good to have market forces determine the prices, it is not always true that it is good for economy or country. Please recollect that many of these experts supported the move by this very same government to fix MRP for medical equipment and implants when they noticed that corporate hospitals/agencies are fleecing the patients by charging abnormal rates. If one is to accept that government support is needed for patients in corporate hospitals to get justice, think of the poor and helpless marginal farmers status vis a vis a large corporate in agri market. Idealism is always advisable, but may not work in majority of cases. Need of the hour for agriculture revival is mechanism to assure farmers of fair prices for their produce and help in the form of controlled prices for inputs for products which cannot face the competition of international trade. Let us not be blind to the fact that leaving farmers and agri economy to fend itself in the market of big corporates and international players is a sure way for destroying our large agri dependent rural India.

  4. All this is going to end in a Sikh-Hindu communal battle – something SG sort of hinted in his first article. Now, that the battle lines are cast, SG decided to throw in his lot with Modi and be on the Hindu side.

    It is silly to fantasize that Modi is going to be a transformer of the Indian economy and he can catapult India into the First World. Modi is very much the corrupt Third World autocrat, and in the last 7 years there is no evidence of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’ that he advertised. Those were slogans taught to him by American Hindus managing his election campaign. Organisation of demonetisation, CAA-NRC, repealing Article 370, farm laws, and Delhi pogrom, does not suggest minimum government, maximum governance, they indicate maximum government, and maximum punishment and impoverishment if we protest. One has to go by the evidence, and not wishful thinking. SG knows the farm laws will also be a mess, he knows Modi will fail, so he wants to say ‘if only he had done such and such, it would have been successful’. It is like those who say demonetisation was clever, but the execution was poor. Modi’s bhakts always have an alibi.

    After all, the BJP and RSS are Hindu fascists who admired Hitler.

  5. Sir, a top journalist like you is not able to make understand your best friend Punjab CM and person like Yogendra Yadav, a much learned persons the benefits of farm law and expects from PM to make farmers understands the benefit of farm laws. No question a tough task.

  6. What is the need for a Tahtcher moment ? We had a Modi moment – beating up Muslims in 2002. That made Modi a hero for the Hindus. That is greater than the Thatcher moment.

    SG is a Vajpayee type – one foot in the liberal camp and the other in the Hindutva fascist camp. One side of him Modi is a failure, but still Modi’s Hindu lure cannot be shaken off. It is just like devoteees of Assaram and Ram Rahim. If Modi stays the course and hands over farming to Adani, India will become a rich nation.

    India is a country with woeful industrial capability. Now even its agriculture will be gone.

    Many countries reach a plateau in development. India reached its plateau in the first MMS term. The Modi era has seen a disastrous decline. India’s per capita income will become lower than Bangladesh. But still Hindus keep hoping they will somehow outplay China, America will be on their side etc. And if those do not materialise, beat up the minorities.

    Hindu incompetence has sunk India. There is no other way to say it. Manusmriti and Vedic primitiveness are the target of Hindus. Progress through retrogression.

    • How are the Dalit Sikhs doing? Is chamar pop doing wonders? Next time stay focused on the topic. Wheat MSP costs 76000 crores to India. Punjabis enjoyed great living standards when poor in other states toiled in their industries and factories. They do not owe anything to Punjabis, they have a right to a good standard of living. Farm income is not taxed and Punjab has to industry to contribute to center’s kitty. Do other states people not deserve to build on their decades of toil? Do they just need to continue to give to center to just prop up Punjab and sustain your lavish lifestyles. All states are overproducing grain, and India can’t buy all. Setting up MSP is not a magic bullet. No private player is going to buy just because MSP is set. Today MSP is sustained only because govt buys the crop whether it passes quality or not. This is done by diverting money that should go to industrialized states who have worked so hard for decades. MSP should go away in 15 years max. Sikhs are highly respected in India, but it is wrong to starve others so they enjoy their lifestyles.

  7. Why are we not seeing “intellectuals” and economists who agree that the farm laws are in general in the right direction coming out in full force and speak in support of the laws and suggest compromise that the govt and farmers can adopt and accept? It is not healthy that we only hear “award returns” and opposition always heard, even if they have a genuine grievance with the law. We cannot progress as a country otherwise.

    • Intellectuals and economists cannot agree to you just to show fairness to fascists.

      The intellectuals and economists said that demonetisation was a swindle, dressed up as corruption ending tool.

      They can see the farming laws have an ulterior purpose.

      Like the CAA is dressed up as innocent and humanitarian, but which when coupled with NRC is a tool to send Muslims selectively to concentration camps.

      Intellectuals can see it, they will not agree. You are dealing with fascist who hate intellectuals. They have their jahil strongmen – Modi, Shah, Yogi….

  8. Playing Devil’s advocate with the article, are we? Farmers have a right to be heard. They know their trade in and out. Bihar had the model implementing the current proposed reform only to lead to an exodus of Bihar farmers to Punjab. Protesting TN farmers btw have been locked up forcibly and no one is reporting this…farmers are going to bring a change. Modi is not at a battle with them to “retreat” or “push forth”. He knows ppl well enough to lead as their representative. This could be a chance to win over an entire state

  9. Modi has won Bihar. Modi has made a spectacular show in Hyderabad. Don’t you see this writing on the Wall? Whether Farm Laws are good or bad is not a matter now. What matters is Modi’s popularity which is intact Having said that, I must confess that I am disappointed his economic initiatives. They are counter productive.

    • Modi is popular because Hindu communalism is popular.

      There is nothing to be disappointed with his economic initiatives, the Hindu communalism is what matter to you.

  10. It is not surprising that journalistic wheeler dealers are sympathetic with agri business wheeler dealers. It is obvious that the “protest” is something manufactured by rich and powerful farmers and commission agents. More than 95% of the agitators are from Punjab a congress ruled state. Congress is more interested in muddying the waters than to promote farmers interest. It is then days now and it is a pity that farmers only from Punjab have grievances over agri laws- no one from southern states are bothered about the “protesters”.

  11. Post-1991 reforms of Indian economy were opposed by even top industrialists under the banner of Bombay -Club. Some thing similarity is happening today. . The arguments of Bombay club led by top industrialist mr. Bajaj seemed good at that time , but post -reform growth of Indian industry proved Bombay club big talk was wrong and was for private benefit of a small minority of the inefficient industrial tycoons. But the government of the day did not buckled under their pressures. the story of Indian growth had its own way for next two decades.In similar fashion Modi government should remain firm. Every right thinking Indian should support him. what modi government proposed in 2020 , are the Reforms that should have been done in 1990 s.

    As for as political strentgh of Modi is concerned , He is modi –under attack since 2002 , but still winning. Definitively he will win in 2020-30 s also.

    • Indeed. Modi is the Great Hindu Hope. The economy is in free fall, GDP per capita is below Bangladesh. Covid handling was inept, and so was handling of China. Definitively Modi will win in 2020-30 s also – but India will not win.

  12. Shekhar mentioned Anna and Thatcher but forgot to mention how Indira dealt with Sharad Joshi’s Chakka Jaam agitation in Maharashtra in the early 1980s! Modi is more likely to remember that episode!!

    From Satyagrah to Fast until death to Anna movement to anti CAA stir to Farmer gathering now, we have seen it all. As of now, Modi seem to be on right course with offers of suitable amendments to the law. Of course, peaceful agitation can continue ( with full support from Canada, UK, USA and UN) !. Let us see how it goes after 2 weeks- whether it turns violent, some disruptive acts take place, it thins out or corona hits them or these rich farmers go back to supervise their poor, hard working labor from Bihar working round the clock on the farms.

    Indian agriculture (not only Punjab) needs massive structural reforms and these three recently passed laws are a step in the right direction for the country. Legacy of Modi will be his economic reforms and not achieving political agenda of BJP. Full Stop.!!

    • Legacy of Modi is economy in free fall. SG himself says it. When he could not deliver in the last 7 years, what is the probability he will now ? Whatever the intention (if you pretend it is not malafide but bonafide), we know the execution is poor – like demonetisation and GST.

      I understand Modi is your Great Hindu Hope, but you need to be objective and not be a fantasist.

      • You yourselves have a communal mind. All your comments are taunts on Hindus. The biggest achievement of Modi will be less corruption and smooth work in bureaucracy, 370 removal and if the economic reforms succeed. He’s not Indira or Atal bihari, he has to face the global leftist ecosystem in any bold step he takes.

  13. Shekhar, you have always been on the capitalists side. No wonder you want corporates to take over the farming sector, making the real farmers contract lab our instead of proud land owners. You and your ilk have brought Modi and his agenda upon us. Now please stop peddling lies for your benifit.

    • Are u serious? Shekhar gupta is long time Indian express, ndtv veteran. He has built his career on bjp, rss bashing. Cmon man have some basic level of intelligence and information before posting weird comments. It was shekhar only who broke the ‘story’ that gen vk singh was marching to delhi to dethrone Maunmohan govt. Cmon, wake up!

    • Because capitalism works. Get off ur hypocrite high horse. The phn/electronic device u r using, the internet u r using, everything is made by corporates. The chips you eat, the cool drinks u drink everything. And no one is alienating farmers from their own lands. Either you are extremely ill informed of how economies work (from your apparent disdain for free markets) or you didn’t even read the laws properly or you just chose to lie. So dont accuse SG of lying.

    • is it ,,,, but Mao killed millions in the famine by making agriculture a public enterprise…. For a typical communist, ideology is more important than improving livelihoods.

    • There is no future in agriculture. If you want them to be landowners, then let them lease the land and earn rent from corporates. Productivity of agriculture has to improve, and effective use of land is needed.
      Farmers are not good at making decisions. They grow the wrong crops in excess, and expects govt to buy that for MSP, from middle class tax money. And then the excess grains rot in godowns. Are we paying MSP for the wastage? And then the taxpayer has to pay MSP again while buying in the market. Stop encouraging this wastage, and evolve.
      We need less farmers and these must move to manufacturing. Learn from landowners of Bangalore. They leased out their land to builders, to develop real estate and industry.

      • Landowners of Bangalore got opportunity to sell or lease their land because software corporations came to Bangalore.
        This cannot be replicated all over India as there is just one Bangalore or Hyderabad or Gurgaon in India.

        Moreover farmers of Punjab feed the entire nation. Do land owning farmers of Bangalore have that kind of reputation.

  14. SG is at his worst in this article. SG hopes Modi, the Hindu godman, will do a miracle for the Hindus. Farm reform is the miracle that SG thinks will save the Indian economy which he himself says is in free fall.

    ‘Our wish, of course, is thathe will choose Thatcher over Anna. It will be a tragedy if even Modi were to lose his nerve over his boldest reforms.’

    Yes, Thatcher broke the unions and miners in the UK. Along with, it disappeared the UK manufacturing industry. It was replaced by services. It looked like a not bad thing. Except when Covid and Brexit struck, Britain finds itself in limbo. Medical equipment and PPE had to be imported. Germany which maintained manufacturing made all the PPE and diagnostic kits. Now with Brexit, even London’s position as the premier financial centre is likely to go.

    Thatcher destroying unions and industry with it was not a clever move. It is like a general who says defend a city at all costs, to the last man. In the first phase of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Stalin issued orders not to withdraw. The result was the German blitz krieg caught the Red Army and they had many battalions captured. Later on, the Soviets realised, it is best to do a tactical retreat and save the army, because then you can strike back. When they did that, the Red Army drove out the Germans. If you sacrifice the workers and the industry or agriculture, then you are doomed.

    As for hoping Modi will be firm and will not back down on the farm laws, what does that indicate ? Does SG want to hand over all the farms to Adani ? Will that work in a poor country ? What happens if Adani decides he can get better profits by exporting the wheat abroad ? Who will ensure the Indian gets enough food ?

    As for Modi’s execution, SG knows it is poor. He knows how the execution of demonetisation and GST was done. SG himself writes Modi’s management of the economy, Covid and China have put India in dire straits. There is nothing Modi has done that suggests competence in governance. SG cannot cite any examples. The only thing Modi has shown is he can murder minorities to win elections.

    When SG hinself knows Modi is a non-performer, what is the point of putting out an article with a prayer that Modi will not fail both in execution and content of the farm reform ? This is the extraordinary weak mentality of Hindus. They cling to false babas and sadhus, and indulge in wishful thinking, even though they know nothing is going to come out of them. SG shows the same trait. He knows Modi has had failure after failure, he himself cites them, but still he hopes the Hindu godman will do a miracle for the Hindus.

    SG is offensive when he says CAA was a success for Modi, because Muslims can be ignored. The CAA-NRC was heading for civil war, the Indian govt. was saved by Covid. Shaheen Baghee dispersed only because of that. There are many internal fights on the horizon that Modi has created : Hindu-Muslim, Hindu-Sikh and confilcts wtih all neighbours. Hindu-Hindu fight will come at some stage.

    • but why did great famine occur in China in 1959- 1961 ? what did Mao do in the “the great leap” that led to famine ?????

      • Where is China today and where is India today ? Mao got rid of all the reactionaries. China is forward looking. India is saddled with Brahmanism and casteism. India is looking to return to Vedic times.

    • If its a fraud channel Why Are you Commenting . Go Visit actual fake news social media like fakebook @ twitter And Last Not Least you tube where every uneducated /Illiterate Wannabe/ Keyboard Warrior Gypo From The Third World Gets There Education .

  15. Shekhar Gupta your views are an affront. Just tell how do you justify and support rise of Adani and Ambani. And it is shameful to know that you did your elementary education from same town as Balwant Gargi. Just tell us that how come their is no industrialist inIndia in poulation touching 140 crores now not near to 130 crores as u still claim somce 2014 dont revise that basic fact of poplulation you and Modi. Just tell no industrialist in India apart from Adani and Ambani? The old Punjabi groups like Thapars were good for nothing. Plus please justify largest financial frauds in India done by Gujratis but highest noble prize winners in India were Bengalis next Punjabis, Tamils. Hiw many Gujratis won Noble prize, how many freesom fighters were martyred from Gujarat, how many regiments in army are from Gujarat. Just answer Shekhar Gupta

    • Hmmm at least gujaratis did not pick up guns, kill innocent people by taking them out of buses along with children. Gujaratis also dont set up shop outside india in countries like canada and provide terror funding to khalistani crazy illeterate dudes. Gujaratis are the single biggest contributors to economy & entrepreneurial spirit. Whereever they go, they represent india their motherland. In fact the powerful india that we see today is also because of a gujarati sardar patel. By the way, i am not a gujarati.

    • Well posed questions.

      SG himself says the economy is in free fall, yet Modi is the Great Hindu Hope. Out of 130 crore, only Adani and Ambani are big businessmen. Out of 130 crore, they could only find a jahil chai wallah and they prefer him to an educated Sikh economist.

      The bottom line is SG knows what is wrong, but he would still prefer to go with the wrong – because it is Hindu. Most Hindus are like that.

  16. This article fails to recognize that Thatcher was heading a country that had a highly developed economy with a lot of other avenues of employment. Where are the jobs in India? Even so called first world countries subsidize their farmers. You dont want to make a profession so unattractive for people that they leave it in droves. Once that happens you can say goodbye to your “self sufficient” grain stocks. The manufacturing economy exists only in your dreams. If there is a viable alternative for farmers except for selling pakoras please do share.

    • SG says the economy is in free fall, he knows it is due to Modi’s incompetence, yet he prays for Modi’s success with the farm reforms which is handing farms to the Adanis !

  17. Probably this is a moment for the media too.
    The media always stands up for the rights of its citizens and touts freedom of every kind at the drop of a hat. So, it is intriguing why does not the media come out vehemently against those who willfully and repeatedly violate the constitutional rights of millions of citizens by blocking and disrupting public conveniences. Even the judiciary is against such “protests” which by its nature results in injuries and fatalities. Media, where is your sense of righteousness in not supporting those whose freedom is violated by such protests?

    Tail piece: In the 60s the slogan “Jai Jawan, Jai Kissan” was coined by a PM. In 2020, both Jawan and Kissan In India seem a bit dissatisfied. The dissatisfaction is handled by both differently. May be there is lesson somewhere here.

    • You are being deceitful as usual. So you are concerned about the blocking and disrupting public conveniences, and the rights of those who are not farmers. When the independence struggle took place, and there were marches and civil disobedience, did you feel that was affecting the rights of those who did not mind British rule ?

      The CAA-NRC protests brought to the attention the Hindu plans of concentration camps. The farmer’s protests have brought attention to control of the economy by a couple of the people.

      Hindus like you never speak up about the constitutional rights of those violated by the RSS and Hindu mob violence.

    • Without Kisan’s toil, Jawan cannot be fed. Let us be real.
      Moreover army is run top down, while farmers are spread all over and not just one single entity.
      No disrespect meant, but it’s an old adage – An army marches on it’s stomach.

    • Indians by and large are extremely gullible.
      A media that gives contrary and dissenting views is useful to have in a democracy of gullible people though it’s viewers may not be much. Only such media tend to shout and project more because they want to be heard and noticed. So you are under a wrong impression that overall most of the media is not fair in it’s coverage.

      Mainstream media today is more in line with the way majority of Hindus think and believe. They don’t need to spend too much effort in shouting and projecting because what they say resonates with the majority.

  18. Free market supporters will want him to go Thatcher’s way. Sending laws to committees that take years to give reports is not this government’s style anyway.
    This crony capitalism narrative that the left has built is maybe what haunts them the most. Absolutely not saying that farmers are wrong, but the laws aren’t bad too. Better communication was needed well now it’s a thing of the past. Now, maybe laws that assure MSP for more crops and assure private players not buying below MSP are needed.

  19. Shekhar Gupta fondly forgets the protests has the official support of the Canadian Govt so is there no hand in it? And he uses the editorial.guild to silence the media from.talking about the foreign hand. Clever guy. With such people india needs no external enemy

  20. Thatcher only effected 5 percent of population who found another income sources. What will Kisan eat. Kisan will fight for 1000 years for its right no cunning will overcome their strength. Remember this

    • Kisan should move to manufacturing. Lease his land and earn rent from builders and industrialists using the land better than them. Look at the development in Bengaluru.
      Land used for farming hasbto reduce and agricultural productivity has to improve.

  21. Modi decision on Farmer protest will suprise everyone like notebandi or lockdown, so just wait and watch….

  22. For whom would it be a tragedy if Modi were to lose his nerve over his boldest reforms? Pratap Bhanu Mehta has written on November 28 in IE that, “The sense that the farmers will be at the receiving end of these changes rather than shaping them propels the need for a show of strength. If they lose, they are marginalised forever.” He further writes, “Chances are that, for the moment, given its overwhelming power, the government will ride out the protests. But the simmering discontent will remain. …… But how many times in Indian politics have we won short-term victories that create long-term political precariousness?”

    As far as Margaret Thatcher, it was different time nd different place when she did what she did. Times have changed since them such a lot. The ‘Iron Lady’ didn’t know when to call it quits. In the end she lost a vote in the parliament, and was fired by her own cabinet.

    • The Iron Lady Of The Western World Margaret Hilda Thatcher A Name Given To Her By The Soviet Union Was Stabbed in The Back By a Couple Of Lightweight Poofs Wearing Suits Who Thought They Could Do a Better Job, Industrys Like Coal Mining were On There Last Legs Long Before Thatcher Came To Office in The Late 70s. She Made a Society Where People Have To Work For There Money Not Think They Can Get Freebies Of The Govt Like Tony Blairs Degenarate New Labour Once The Party Of The British Working Class Today Since 1996 the Party Of The Third World Country Scrounging Class .

  23. True Shekhar! The way you have articulated and compared this with Anna movement is excellent. You rightly pointed out that Modi has not been given credit for political heavy lifting done by him in various reforms. In spite of acknowledging his contribution in India’s development & reform agenda, you have chosen to berate him for Demo. This is exactly where Media’s silence will kill India for ever. Knowing that if Modi retreats, it could be end of road for Agri sector and India, there is no word of advice to farmers. No media has ever shown farmers their face in the mirror. English media or for that matter all media is just doing lip services. Why is there no question to farmers about their own productivity? 60% of Indian population is dependent on Agri sector that contributes just 16% to GDP is matter of shame! And no farmer is ready to answer. If this chance to reform is wasted – for whatever reason- let us not talk about progress!

  24. Care to elaborate on what “merit” you see in the Gujarati pracharak’s “reforms” Mr Harsha ?

  25. Made excellent reading – the comparison between Anna and Thatcher is apt. My observation (minor) on the sentence. ”He has personal popularity enormously higher than Manmohan Singh’s, great facility with words and a record of consistently winning elections for his party.”. Is the appropriate word ‘facility’ or is it ‘felicity’?

  26. I do not know what these comparisons with Thatcher or Hazare mean. If one to come straight to the point, or cut the clutter in Shekhar Gupta’s own language, the three agricultural laws have been enacted by Modi with MALICIOUS INTENT. For 3 reasons :
    1) there is no MSP. Farmers are left completely at the mercy of someone’s greed
    2) who listens to a District Magistrate? Only rickshaw pullers and petty shopkeepers. Yet, the aggrieved farmer has no where to go beyond a distinct magistrate
    3) poor consumer can be squeezed by the greedy someone who can hoard without limits.
    These three laws must be withdrawn in entirety as the farmers are saying, and government should start with a clean slate and clean intentions.
    Modi ji in last few days spent 15 days with police officers, thinking that the policemen will save him from the masses’ fury. What if the farmers’ sons, read the armymen become furious?
    Narendra Modi cannot afford to play an ostrich. He has to come out and face the reality

    • 15 hours, not 15 days. This data is as per a TOI report in hast few days, about the annual meet of DGPs of different states

    • Not only the farmer has nowhere to turn, even Indians may not have food. If it is handed to Adani, and he decides exporting the wheat fetches a better margin for him, who will ensure the Indian has enough food ? That is not Adani’s concern.

      • Absolutely. Profit is the only mantra for most Indian capitalists. Expecting them to shoulder social responsibility from them is to expect too much. Majority of them is not a Tata or a Godrej

  27. Private mundies aren’t going to come up as long as MSP exists. If MSP continues in current form, there is no meaning for farm reforms.
    Instead a frank debate on MSP + state procurement has to be debated vigorously. What is clearly evident is that the reforms are rushed and stakeholders are not taken along.

  28. Modi government should have seen this coming. When they were trying your pass these bills in the parliament, there were enough voices of caution advising Modi to refer them to the select committee. It should have been done then. Doing it now will be seen as a tactical retreat.

  29. Dear Sir,

    How does corporatisation of farming help farmers when in the long the control of production & sale will be in the hands of corporates? Similar laws have failed spectacularly in Europe & the US.

    How will farmers get MSP for their yields when APMC traders have have to pay GST but a pan card holder can buy products in the open market without being taxed? Don’t you think such arrangements will destroy the APMC hold and in the long run the private players will become kings and fleece the poor farmers which in a way I believe is happening in some parts of the country.

    Also, is it not a fact that the farmers income has not raised more than 20% in 45 years while other sectors be it govt services, health or education sector the rise income has been more than 150%.

    Also, is it not a fact that most of time the price of a product purchased by the trader from the farmer ie for eg at Rs 2 per kg is sold at Rs 40/- to the end consumer more than 200% profit margin – Highest in any world market.

    My question is if the above are some of the implications of the new laws how will it be beneficial to the farmers & society?

    • There is no GST on agriculture. It is a lie propagated.

      Only APMC Mandi tax is there and state governments like Punjab make 1000s of crores out of it. So much for their fighting for poor farmers.

      If farmer is selling for rs. 2 and consumer is paying for rs. 40 it is wrong with existing system and why should we continue it. Even for rice MSP is 1800 per quintal which is roughly rs. 18 per kg. But middle class knows you don’t get good quality rice at less than Rs. 50.

      If not middlemen or retailers or traders who else is skimming that margin of 3 times or more what farmer gets. Same forces oppose FDI in retail but hide behind facade of poor farmers or small tradersm. But real beneficiary of existing setup in retail trade is big rich traders and same is true for agriculture also where middleman and traders make huge profit and don’t want that to change

      Now many farmers come and sell vegetables at my doorstep in city. They were selling veggies, onion, tomato at prices much lower than shops and they are very happy that is much higher than what they would have received by selling to middleman even after they factor in additional transportation & labor cost and their effort. Tomato was once retailing at rs. 40 and these farmers were selling to me at rs. 15 and he was saying that he would not have even got rs. 5. So much hypocrisy in people who claim to fight for poor farmers.

      • Only local grown vegetables can be sold that way.
        We cannot scale distribution of all variety of agriculture produce without retailers and traders.
        You very well know the success stories of onions and milk distribution iall over India.

        Middle class wants vegetables milk and gas cylinders cheap. They are not ready to pay. They are too socialist minded…cost of vegetables in India is lowest in the world. Cost of food in India is lowest in the world. Ask foreign tourists. That is why whenever there is a shortage govt bans exports of agri items. Retailers and traders are a necessity to keep the nation well fed via mass distribution. Government need to work on increasing number of jobs and GDP so that middle class incomes rise.

  30. We can call it Shekhar Gupta’s egregious mendacity moment. Mendacity, a fancy word for untruthfulness, egregious = extreme..

    Sunil Jain, editor of Financial Express has explained the farm laws really well. Readers will do well to note why only the well-off farmers of Punjab, fattened on the freebies and the sheer generosity of the MSP, are protesting. This year itself one quarter of the total procurement of foodgrains under MSP program of central govt is from Punjab, not that the other regions do not have a surplus. Grains procured to rot in FCI godowns, since there is too much to keep. Sheer indulgence.. Never mind the really stark issues confronting farmer in Punjajb, like unsuitable crops like paddy and the soil leaching, and plunging groundwater levels this has resulted in.

    The same farmers in Punjab will happily sell their potatoes to MNCs, but will try and extract maximum subsidies and easy market for foodgrains.

    Thankfully, the farmers in the rest of India have resisted being co-opted in these protests — mandi traders, a vested interest — are co-sponsors of this fake protests. Rs 2 per kg to farmer and Rs 60 to consumer. We know who siphons off the cream.

    As for Shekhar Gupta — your political predictions are becoming LoL moments. More like LFMAO. I remember your dire forebodings when four Supreme Court judges held a presser. SG, who was chaperoning the judges at the press conference, came out of the sorry episode like Don Quixote tilting at windmills (phrase means: attacking imaginary enemies).

    Once in a blue moon (another metaphor!) — e.g. in 6 months, when I give in to youtube prompts — I click on SG’s CTC. Am never disappointed. All his predictions fall flat. CTC and the pompously titled, “National Interest” = comedy gold!

  31. I would suggest parliament session to discuss viewpoints from all party and followed by questions and answer regarding to the bill. then the bill will go to select committee and do some changes if it is needed. it’s not necessary changes are made according to farmer’s viewpoint.

  32. For Thatcher it was workers Union versus government. For Modi it is between, farmers, Canada, Pakistan, China, Queen of England, DNC of the USA urban Naxal and experts pushing for reforms.

  33. Margaret Thatcher – milk snatcher, I gave up my British Council library membership in Delhi when she raised the fees – was a great lady in the mould of Indira Gandhi. However, unlike the latter, she left Britain much the richer, better positioned to benefit from the early stages of globalisation. A gifted pair with Ronald Reagan, who put the Soviet Union out of business. 2. PM Thatcher would have wound up the FCI. Stopped the procurement of wheat and rice. Shut down the PDS as well. No free power for farmers. In the Indian context, lest this sound like lunacy, all of this could be phased out, very clearly, transparently spelt out in declared government policy, over a period of ten years. Direct cash transfers to households dependent on the PDS. Allowing farmers sufficient time to change their cropping pattern. Creating marketing linkages with organised retail. Ten years could have covered the period from 2014 to 2024. Don’t waste a crisis is a trite cliche. Don’t waste two successive mandates is the Eleventh Commandment. 3. How this will play out politically, I am unqualified to predict. However, not a happy moment for such a powerful government, with such a vast political and parent organisation physical presence all the way down to the grassroots. A cumulative refusal to listen, engage politically, obtain the best possible feedback and advice.

  34. Hi Guptaji,

    Anna’s movement’s is about corruption and it was true weather you prove it in court or not, please don’t compare it.

  35. Neither Thatcher nor Anna, Modi goes Modi way. SG has never understood Modi and he would never understand him.

  36. Brother, Thatcher is an old story. Anna’s example is different too. Farm reforms will not go ahead because this is not just about reforms. Of course there has been anger over Modi’s handling of many issues, not just these farms laws. The protests have spread across the diaspora. It has split communities. The hinu-sikh divide is quite significant among the global Indian community now. You are forever analysing stuff through bold reforms and free market reforms. You must be kidding to think Modi’s reforms are for farmers. If Modi is for reforms he should first stop his silly parades and wasteful lifestyle. What about the republic parade? What about his time spent on matters of faith. His excuse to demonetise is like a socialist intervention. How is this even close to market reforms. You got to lay your hands off the currency. How about all the toilets he’s building and giving away gas cylinders. If he stands for reforms he should reduce the size of the government and stop doing such silly policies. People will build their toilets. Just stop meddling in their affairs. Modi is nothing but someone who is the opposite of market reforms. His style is that of Chairman Mao. State intervention in every aspect of our lifes. From faith to toilets to gas. Now he wants to meddle with farms too.
    Solution — let the government stop collecting taxes from Farmers. Let the farmers collect their own taxes and support their price or whatever they want. Government should retreat and stop meddling and deciding on farmers. If you collect GST and taxes from farmers, they have a right to demand what they think is right for them….You are a socialist like Modi!!! The entire RSS bandwagon borders around increasing state control. They are nothing about reforms or globalisation.

    • Where did you get the idea that this is socialist ? These are Hindu fascists. They also believe in state control.

      • The foundation of RSS concepts is to control Hindus and unite them despite the Vedic concepts of inequality and hierarchy.

        RSS have grabbed power, they are here to stay.
        Many OBC and SC who have their own support base are now unable to think and organise for themselves. Greed of OBC and SC politicians makes them join BJP and bring their caste votes to BJP. BJP has now enough money to buy OBC and SC politicians all over India. Only a few states are left like Tamilnadu, Kerala.

        And the ordinary OBC SC and ST will not be able to see through the guile of the RSS ideology!

      • Taxpayers money wasted on toilets, free health insurance and now free housing.
        These are socialist gimmicks to capture votes from the poor.
        As long as economy grows these subsidies and handouts can be continued.
        Instead of better public schools, public health and infrastructure , direct benefit transfers will not do anything for the nation other than just allow political leaders to claim they are doing something for the poor.

        For those salaried who work in private sector all their lives and paid income taxes when you lose a job or retire you will have to pay for your own health insurance or housing. Bums who don’t ever pay income tax will benefit at your expense because India is socialist.

        Since it is a political reality that we are largely a country of illiterate and uneducated bums who need to be taken core of, government should focus on loosening the shackles on the economy. It looks like they don’t know how to do that yet.

  37. Whatever the issue, all suggested cure based on UK or European model will be worse than the illness. It is a pity, 72 years of muddling through crisis after crisis has not taught India this fact.

  38. How is India to be a rich country by 2070? Not another Russia, or Turkey, or Egypt but a Germany or Japan or South Korea? Someone always wins an election,. The challenge is to win an election and do what – Keep us poor or make all of us rich or remain stuck in endless ideological debates as seems to be the case today.
    I want to be recognized as being from a rich country. We cannot allow ourselves to get used to Poverty. I think it is morally inappropriate. Maybe all of us will not be happy, but we can choose to be a more just, highly dedicated society. If the last 150 years of world history is any guide, justice is a function of more a prosperous society. Prosperity may not mean everything but is better than impoverishment. Can India have a per capita income of USD40,000/- by 2070?
    Perhaps that is the question staring at all of us as we look at these protests. I would have loved to use the phrase “our choices”, but it is going to be the Government and within this Government Mr. Miodi’s choice that is going to determine the future of our children and grandchildren. Can India run or will remain an also ran by 2100? It will determine the legacy of this dispensation both collectively as a group of individuals and Individually of the PM.
    As regards the land reform the Government lost because it chose an easy way out, instead of selling Government land and setting a example, convincing the government servants over whom it has leverage, it tried to take land from private citizens…. but that I guess is a story perhaps for another day.

    • Justice, discipline, industriousness etc. is not after one becomes prosperous. They are foundations to becoming a prosperous society.
      Countries like Japan had discipline and hard work ethic even before they became prosperous. So also China.
      It is naive to expect a single man to lead a nation of many impoverished and ignorant people out of the woods. That is what BJP supporters would have us believe that Modi hai to mumkin hai.
      It is actually up to ordinary Indians to make choices in democracy as to what they want in their society and in their elected representatives. Elected representatives reflect the mindset of people; people reflect the elected’s mindset. .
      So far it looks like most Indians choose handouts and religious nationalism – then that’s what they will get. Every nation in history gets exactly what it’s people want. Democracy is a powerful tool for a citizen given by our Constitution to hold elected representatives accountable. The people themselves don’t seem to want to hold politicians accountable. Their minds are busy on other things.

  39. Well, someone has to play the role of the opposition, and since the Congress seems to have given up, I guess the farmers have taken up that responsibility.
    This temptation of entering the annals of history as the “strongman/woman”, be it Modi or Thatcher, sounds almost medieval to me. If the government cannot engage the stakeholders in the process of drafting laws, then democracy simply becomes an exercise wherein we get to elect our dictator for a fixed term. So no, I don’t think that the farmers are being unreasonable. Perhaps the Modi government’s intentions behind bringing these farm laws are good, but as the expression goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  40. Sir – see too many advertisements on the page and it is distracting from the content. Can your web designers help us reader to read the content and the same time have advertisement on the page. Also, i am a subscriber of Print and having a subscriber corner on the webpage will also help.

  41. What Thatcher, what Hazare? Does not know head nor tail about economics. As T N Ninan said in one of his articles the 8% GDP growth rate in the first two years was purely due to oil going down to $40 a barrel. From 2016 we were going down and down. 3% before Corona. Corona just pushed us down the precipice. Recovery? Forget it. No businessman trusts anyone now. Whoever can is rushing out of India. Really does not know what it wants. And an evergreen all pervading patented excuse Because of Nehru. We are stuck at 3.5% for the next five years.

  42. and one more thing mr.gupta
    you have said that UPA 2 fell because of spinelessness and guilelessness of the manmohan singh govt. that’s very patronising. UPA w is pehaps the most corrupt govt. in the history of india. the govt. could not have reacted in any other manner because THEY WERE GUILTY TO THE CORE. please understand the govt. would have fallen even without anna movement.
    the way you have written, it looks like you are ruing that the govt. was voted out. that’s a shame.

  43. Big ticket reforms are always resisted. Govt should and is apparently giving a patient hearing to the farmers genuine grievances. MSP written assurance must be subject to farmers adhering to limited controlled wheat and rice produce. Country can not afford to purchase unwanted grains that will later rot in godowns. Protesting farmers should keep the national interest in mind along with theirs. Undue concessions under pressure must be avoided which will later prove policy blunder. Keep having dialogue to clarify the apprehensions even if it takes time. But the genuine grievances should be addressed!

  44. Radical Islamists damaged the reputation of Islam globally. Radical Hinduism, Hindutva forces are damaging the reputation Hiduism globally. Since India is a Hindu majority state, damaging the reputation of India as well. The question being asked can a LEADER of such communal forces be a reformer ? Ofcourse Modi ji needs such a media advisor like Shekharji. I never thought Shekharji is so weak and scared to ask hard questions from people in authority.

  45. all the intellectuals, journalists and opinion makers too have a role to play. will all of them keep quiet like bhishma blinded by his love for hastinapura in draupathi vastra haran or will they stand up for what is good for the country despite their strong dislike for mr.modi.
    Because after all opinion making matters a lot in such things.
    in this regard, i salute mr.gurucharan das , who is a not a modi fan, for his bold stand.

  46. Reform, reform, reform! – that is what the media elite and so called experts talk about all the time! Reform for whom? All the reforms which Modi brought has added to the coffers of the rich and has left the farmers, the workers at the mercy of Indian corporates, who in turn are at the mercy of lobal corporates. Sekhar Gupta ji, it would be a good thing if you can do a course in economics as if real people mattered instead of economics as GDP growth. The whole world is on a re-think mode with the pandemic, the excessive unsustainable production/consumption and the climate change crisis, the whole world is brazing for a re-alignment of economies, and Sekhar Gupta is wishing for a Thatcher moment! Sir, History never repeats itself, if it does it repeats as a farce, then as a tragedy.

    • Well written ! At his worst, SG is a sycophant of those in power. His last line confirms that. He spoilt his own article.

  47. Thatchers thrive in educated societies, a country with widespread semi-literacy and a populace which still is divided in identity based groupism earning its livelihood on the basis of agriculture and tax exemption, you won’t get a Thatcher or a Reagon. Modi like each one of his predecessors is a socialist. You’re born in a wrong country if you expect anything other than socialism. That doesn’t mean you cannot study hard and be successful and get a H1B/Green Card.

  48. The question is not whether Modi will retreat or carry on with the farm laws inspite of opposition- the question is about Modi sarkar’s competence and the intention behind all these reforms. Margaret Thatcher succeeded in Britain not because she plowed on inspite of Labour and the unions opposing her push for privatisation – she succeeded because British institutions ensured that fruits of liberalisation reached everyone. The union members got richer – the union could not compete with that! Modi Sarkar is “suit-boot ki Sarkar.” They work for their rich sponsors and farmers are worried that the fruits of liberalisation will never reach them and will be pocketed by the suit boot friends and sponsors of Modi Sarkar. Just like UPA 2 was sent packing but the fruits of that are being enjoyed by the RSS – we never got our Lokpal. Fruits of GST are being enjoyed by the corporates who got their big tax breaks – small businesses continue to suffer and workers got their wages slashed. Fruits of insolvency law helped big firms offload their risky stakes and turn debt free while tax-payers were left footing the bill. The record of Modi Sarkar on earning trust through their competent actions in improving incomes and economic outcomes is singularly poor – no one trusts them and hence whatever they do – repeal farm laws or go ahead – the outcome is not going to make the common farmer’s life any better. Simply reforms for its own sake makes no sense. Reforms need to be accompanied by institutional independence to truly ensure “Sabka saath and sabka Vikas.” Deep inside Modi is no true reformer – he is an old style socialist autocrat – that is why true economists are unwilling to credit him as a reformer.
    I must say both YY yesterday and SG today seem to be losing their touch. Naïveté is not good for the political journalist sir.

  49. This Article along with other cut the clutter on Same topic gives a well balanced perspective on historical viewpoint, & Pros / Cons of the Farm bills – and how politics is being played out by each set of interested stakeholders. Well done SG, you are steadily building a set of followers like me who look forward to hearing from you. May ThePrint do very well in future years with quality / well balanced perspective on matters of National Interest.

  50. It’s a shame how he confidently says tht Shaheen bagh was helping bjp in the polarisation,if it did y did bjp only win 8 seast in delhi legislative election
    Why dint comments lyk “bhagalpur mein bjp ke button zor de dhaba taaki,vote bhagalpur mein hailekin current Shaheen bagh tak pahoonchna hai” work?wasn’t this polarisation
    Remember,Shekhar govt dint end the movement COVID-19 ended it,COVID-19 ended the movement,cannot believe u too have sold ur soul to corporates and bjpigs

  51. Lutyens media journalist Sekhar gupta forgot that gdp fall is due to corona and not modi but his political chasma thinks otherwise.

  52. Knowing the Modi style of functioning, I doubt very much that the bills will be withdrawn. Yes, modifications will be made and both sides can claim victory. Congress and many opposition parties would like the impasse to continue, but this is not desirable and surely not in the interest of the country. Dialogue should have taken place before reforms were introduced. This didn’t happen. The current imbroglio is the result of the obstinate stand taken by the government. Hope that the good sense prevails and farmers are persuaded to withdraw their agitation. The moot point is that the introduction of agri reforms is not a magic wand solution. One should go through an article written by T.N.Ninan on the Agri crisis. The crisis is too deeply rooted to get cured by such half baked reforms. More than fifty per cent of the population is subsisting on a segment that contributes less than 15% to the economy. The root of the crisis is hidden unemployment of crores of uneducated and unskilled population who have nowhere to go and no alternative employment opportunities. Politicians may sell dreams to them, but that is hardly a solution.

  53. Dear SG, for all your learned wisdom, the best analogy and reference point you could cite and offer is a white sahib in that wretched thatcher, whose legacy has since proved to condemn UK to eternal decline and demise?

  54. PM has personal popularity enormously higher than Manmohan Singh’s, great facility with words and a record of consistently winning elections for his party. WHY DO THE CRITIQUES SHY AWAY FROM OPENLY ACCEPTING HIS PERSONAL AND FINANCIAL INTEGRITY?
    If he could carry through the DE-MO without which half of us would be dead in queues in front of ATMs in the pandemic
    A lot of us who have thrived in the environment of corruption at the top trickling down to our day to day life do not want to and accept the change that Modi has brought.
    The majority of protestors are Sikhs, so the the Punjab CM talks about being a border state, are we so naïve as not understand the implied meaning, the comments from the Canadian PM also has political connotations.
    We talk about the inherited 8% GDP but do not want to talk about the thefts and leakages to arrive at the effective GDP

  55. So we are back to another protest and familiar entrenched positions …center and left siding with protesters and bhakts with the government …I wonder if after each successive reforms of these so called reformers like Thatcher ,the economy of the country found it progressively worse off than before the reforms …if I supported a leader who consistently shaved off huge percentage points of GDP every year ..I would question my judgement … ( I know print doesn’t publish non right wing opinions anymore in its comment section ,but worth an effort )

  56. So we are back to another protest and familiar entrenched positions …center and left siding with protesters and bhakts with the government …I wonder if after each successive reforms of these so called reformers like Thatcher ,the economy of the country found it progressively worse off than before the reforms …if I supported a leader who consistently shaved off huge percentage points of GDP every year ..I would question my judgement …

  57. Dear Mr. Gupta, I have a great regard for your opinions. I am perplexed why media the fourth pillar including your outlet did not try to educate the farmers and the country on such important reforms. The media doesn’t lose a moment to show the mirror to government on bad policies then why not hail the good policies and promote them for betterment of the country.

  58. I am enjoying reading your articles. You are one of the few guys who gets it. This agitation appears to be the frustration of a declining Panjab, almost all of it its own undoing.

  59. Dear Gupta ,
    Don’t try to be’ Colonel Dyer’ of NDA Govt.
    Opinions are welcome , Don’t advise , that is not the job of a journalist .
    Remember , Lot of blood stain on the hand of Indian journalist by stabbing Indian democracy from the back .

  60. Why shkuld he go the Thatcher way? Aren’t compassion and empathy skills that a leader should have? Reforms are needed in the agricultural sector, but the reforms have to come in consultation with the those who need them. The best way forward is to withdraw these bills, have a committe with representatives from agricultural sector, government, economists, middlemen, take their suggestions and draft a new bill. I am amazed that someone as senior as Shekhar Gupta recommended that Modi should go the Thatcher way. Shocked.

    • Reforms should be bold only. If rao and mms have waited to take advice of industrialists and opposition parties then india wouldnt have progressed.

    • Hi, Mr. Ishrani,
      One question – Your .views – how can India have a per capita income of usd40,000/- by 2070? If usd40,000/- is too much, how can we get to usd20,000/- ?


    • Just because a handful of bjp haters gather and create a ruckus, the government should withdraw the bill. These elements will remain opposed to the govt and its agenda. The question of withdrawal does not arise.

    • Very well said Mr Ishani !

      Consultations with stakeholders is the essence of democracy. But then, the Modi government is an autocracy run by an RSS pracharak who know everything … I expect the man to behave more like Mussolini, Idi Amin or Vladimir Putin than ManMohan Singh.

    • compassion is for genuine small and marginal farmers.. not the fat rich farmers who have been milking govt coffers that has our taxpayers money….

    • And then we can wait till the end of this century before a proposal that satisfies everyone comes forward. You know, Ambedkar wouldn’t have been able to get even Hindu Code Bill passed if he waited to consult with everyone or P. V. Narasimha Rao for 1991 reform for that matter.

  61. Like many self certified liberal journalists ShrI Shekhar Gupta is deliberately hiding two points. First these are rich farmers, not every farmer. Secondly those who are protesting are almost exclusively from Punjab and some from Haryana. Farmers in the country have nothing to do with this protest. Hiding the truth does not hide facts. Yes, the government has to also communicate much better. On that there are no opinions.

    • Like many bhakts, Subhasis has not Googled before running his mouth. Farmers in Punjab and Haryana are hurt the most due to the successful MSP procurement in these states. And of course, the uneducated Subhasis has not understood that Mr. Gupta does not oppose these reforms. Sad.

    • Unfortunately, speaking the truth is not possible nowadays. But everyone knows. No farmers are agitating. We know very well who these people are and who is pulling the strings. But Amit Shah is equally smart. He will ensure that all the right noises are made.

    • How does it matter if they are rich farmers or poor farmers? Moreover how you are so certain on that. In Punjab or Haryana, FYI the land holding limit is 18.5 acres, no one can possess more land then this. Majority is farmers protesting are marginal farmers, perhaps you should visit the site and you will get to know.

      • If this is true then Subhasis is a propagandist.
        Unbelievable in India how people believe and act based on rumours and fake news. Or maybe they know the facts but are conveniently doing propaganda to fool readers.

  62. Not to mention, he will also lose his intent on privatization agenda and the new psu policy that’s been in works for more than 6 months now. There will be some concessions….we have vote banks in the form of profession (agriculture) and religion (earlier muslims, now rendered almost irrelevant ) and therein lies the problem. Good economics is hard to sell in democracy with so many poor people that’s used to crony socialism masquerading as empowering the poor. “Compete, workhard, innovate “ always sounds worse than “you are the poor, here’s a handout”. I just hope shekhar ji, modi doesn’t lose his steam. Might i also point out how the media horribly destroyed this reform. Especially ndtv. ThePrint, Indian Express editorial are the only 2 mainstream media that has accepted and endorsed these reforms. TheHindu too through its increasingly left leaning editorials and comments has almost destroyed the merit in this refroms through nutty but good socialist sounding arguments. There is one area where the govt and particularly bjp has failed. They have pretty much mainstreamed hindutva today but didn’t mainstream the ideas of free market or good economics. Hence so many problems. There’s an extremely deep distrust of free markets in Indians thanks to decades of broken education system and left loony opinion makers. .

      • Google abhijeet banerjee’s study that found no casteism in private enterprises. Free markets coupled with affirmative action by the state is the way forward. If you want casteism removed, you need to demand govt to have more police stations and reservations in each and every station instead of overall strength in govt employees.. only then will the police rein in casteist elements. Also study about dalit capitalism. Casteism is a reality. But then how well is our govt machinery most importantly the police and judiciary dealing with them is important. Having representation in legislature or reservation in overall strength of govt employees is not sufficient. You need institutions which protect people (police) to be diverse. Only then will they stop privileged castes from preventing lower castes attend schools in remotest areas. And this is not related to this reform. I often hear people worrying about reservations if govt psus are privatized. That’s not the way. You don’t need more accountants clerks or psu engineers….you need more diverse castes in policemen, judges, teachers, doctors….these are the areas where state needs to work on. That way the state can retreat from business and at the same time strengthen actual governance and ensure affirmative action.

        • Excellent comment.
          Social diversity is needed in police and judiciary and other institutions which protect people’s rights and democracy.
          Not in business.

          The focus of past governments had been to uplift the downtrodden castes economically via reservations in education and govt jobs. While this has worked to some extent, true social justice at village level where caste system is rampant comes through the police and judicial systems.

          Not just Hindu castes even Christians Muslims Sikhs Buddhists Jain’s etc. must be given adequate representation in social institutions.

    • It’s difficult to do business in India.
      Most people bargain and want goods cheap. They don’t appreciate that that they have to pay the labourer, the trader, the shopkeeper and the manufacturer for a product that arrives on shop shelves near their homes. Now translate that to food and agriculture.

      Add to that harassment from government authorities for bribes for all kinds of law violations.

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