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Time for Modi to play the elder statesman and repeal the farm laws

Narendra Modi is losing more political capital by not repealing farm laws than he would by repealing them.

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Sometimes a street brawl drags on for far too long, both sides suffer a lot, and the only thing that prevents the nightmare from ending is ego. Both sides need a face-saving exit but egotism demands that both want to come out as the winner. One has to lose.

In such situations, what is needed is a respected elderly person who can say, chalo chhoro, khatam karo. Just end it, forgive and forget.

In the case of the never-ending protests by the farmers of Punjab and Haryana (mostly), the Supreme Court tried to be that wise old man. Whether or not it was appropriate for the Supreme Court to do so, it halted the implementation of the farm laws — indefinitely — and set up a committee to talk to the farmers. This could have been an ideal solution, since postponing crisis resolution with endless extensions to committees is a good old formula. But the members chosen for the committee had all been known for their pro-reform position and thus did not inspire confidence among the protesters.

Even so, the halting of the farm laws should have been enough for the farmers to go home. They could return if the laws were to be implemented again, no? Except that organising such a protest is no cakewalk. How were the protesters to trust that the laws won’t be implemented once they went home? That’s why they stuck to their position of demanding a complete repeal of the laws.

The Narendra Modi government seems to have understood this concern and offered a reasonable assurance of suspending the implementation for 1.5 years. That would be sufficient time to evolve a consensus, maybe even quietly repeal the laws or forget all about them, whatever the government thought best. But the protesters weren’t convinced, which tells you of the complete lack of trust between both sides.

Also read: What explains lower allocation under Modi’s flagship scheme for farmers PM-Kisan?

A narrative backfires

I had written earlier on the breakdown of trust due to political polarisation, whereby Modi voters have blind faith in Modi and those who don’t vote for him have absolutely no trust. This is the opposite of ‘Sabka Vishwas’ (everyone’s trust), the addendum Modi made to his slogan ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ (everyone together, everyone’s development) upon his 2019 re-election.

Every attempt to discredit and delegitimise farmers, every narrative tool used against them has backfired. Even the 26 January vandalism by a section of protesters at the Red Fort has not worked. It became clear that we were dealing with a very difficult situation when Rakesh Tikait’s tears re-energised the protests and the Yogi Adityanath government backtracked on its attempts to clear the protest site in Uttar Pradesh.

If on 26-27 January it appeared the government would have an upper hand and clear out the protests, it has not turned out that way. Attempts to use low-level violence, make it a locals-versus-violent protesters story, haven’t worked either.

At this point, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is losing more political capital by not repealing the farm laws than he would by repealing them. The dragging on of these protests, the poor optics of containing them as if they were enemy forces, shutting down the internet and cracking down on liberal media — all of this is terrible for Modi’s image.

Also read: 7 reasons why Modi govt is in retreat on farm reform laws

Plan 2024

Whether you support or oppose the farm laws, they have already become infructuous. If the farmers were to accept the Modi government’s offer of a moratorium for 1.5 years, they would be on hold until mid-2022. By that time, the Lok Sabha election would be too close to implement them and risk such huge protests again, even in a Punjab where the BJP doesn’t need seats for Modi to return in 2024.

The government has also been willing to discuss the farm laws clause by clause, indicating it is open to completely re-thinking them.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s attitude towards these protesters seems to be one of othering them — us-versus-them. An article in the latest issue of Organiser speaks of the tractor as a new symbol of terror! This narrative is only going to worsen the divide, widen the chasm and deepen the mistrust.

Also read: Teflon Modi does not have one Achilles heel, but two

Farm reform 2.0

If the farm laws can be halted indefinitely, if they can be halted for 1.5 years, if they can be reconsidered clause by clause, they can also be repealed. Narendra Modi can say he is going to bring them afresh after some time, after taking the protesting groups on board, after evolving consensus, in keeping with his motto of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’. Doing this will be more than a face-saving exit for Modi. It will make him look like the gentle statesman he not only wants to be, but should be, given that he is the prime minister.

Prime Minister Modi would do well to rise above this discourse of polarisation and make it clear that he is willing to be accommodative of the concerns of even those who don’t vote for him. Such is the stuff a nation needs to be ‘united’.

The Green Revolution has long run its course and we do need radical reforms in Indian agriculture. The good thing that has come out of this sorry episode is wide public debate and discussion on reforming Indian agriculture. Let us allay the concerns of farmers by repealing the laws without ego, and get back to the task of building consensus on reforming agriculture, clearly laying down what the problem is, and how we can solve it. Shoving hurriedly passed laws down the throats of unwilling farmers is not how it can be done. At least not in a democracy. 

The author is a contributing editor. Views are personal. 

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  1. Narendra Modi ? Statesman ?

    Wonder what Bilkis Bano, the 20 year old Muslim woman who in the course of the Godhra pogroms was gangraped whilst she was pregnant, watched her baby’s head be smashed on a rock and had to witness the rapes and killings of all the womenfolk in her family – including her mother – would have said to making Modi a statesman.

  2. Shivam Vij aapki akal apake ghutno mein hai. Isiliye aapko Modi ji jo kar rahe hai woh kabhi samajh nahi ayega. Behetar hai ki aap apni akal ka pradarshan na karey.

  3. Modi is doing exactly what I voted him for. I voted for him for reforms and to pass bills such as this. The majority of Indians did the same and that is why BJP got a majority. Maybe the author needs a refresher course in democracy . The author should try and respect the decision of the electorate.

  4. To play the elder statesman, you have to be one! Or at least have a few qualities that fall close to it!

    If you instead have all the maturity of a juvenile hothead, and the ‘act before you think’ reactions of people with anger issues, that’s too far a leap, even for a great actor. Kind of like  Scarlett Johansen playing an Asian girl!!

    The ruling duopoly pushed Muslims into an existential dilemma and then butchered them, when they protested.  That the riots – triggered by the BJP itself came when the US media was focused on Trump’s India visit – didn’t teach them any lessons.

    They thought they were being very clever when they ‘allowed’ criminal elements to reach the red fort. (I say allowed, because I can’t imagine any other reason the main protagonists behind the red fort event aren’t arrested!)  Then they said Khalistanis  trying to take over India. Then Modi mentioned it on radio. Now they’ve barricaded the farmers, passed around pics of it, and fueled an international bad PR storm!! They then replied to the bad PR by referring to national unity.

    The chronology-samajiye of missteps has left them flat on their face. Now how do they tell their testosterone pumped supporters that the anti nationals aren’t really that bad, and it’s ok to agree to their demands?!!

    This is Modis moment to grow up and show some maturity. And actually apply some brains and come up with an idiot proof farm law that satisfies the people most affected by it,  the farmers,  instead of the corporates. (Imagine, they still haven’t figured out how the nitty-gritty of the CAA-NRC laws will actually work!) 

    Or he can instead continue let India lurch from one crisis to another, and let India’s image, spirit and soul be battered while continuing to divide the people to win elections. (I mean ISI never had it so easy!!)

    As for the farm laws,  the farmers have been facing an existential crisis for a while. They feel these laws are not for them, but for the corporates. The only way to dispel this it’s to assure them of a minimum income for all their efforts!! You can’t fault the farmers for asking for the bare minimum!!!

    And while the protests are happening around Delhi, the rest of the country supports them in spirit!

  5. Regardless of the merits of these laws, in a democracy, it is important to have a dialogue with the stakeholders affected by a legislation before passing it. That elementary tenet of democracy is not what Modi and his minions learnt in their fetid, fascist RSS shakas. The farm laws were bulldozed through the Parliament with no consultations with farmers, the most important stakeholders in the issue. And given the Gujarati PM’s penchant to support his crony capitalist Gujarati financiers such as Ambani, Adani and scores off others, it is not a surprise that you find grassroots protests by farmers suspicious of the PM and his backers. And dismissing these protests and real grievances of farmers as seditious Sikh separatism as thePM and his loyal bhakths do will only inflame passions. And tug at the weakening bonds that hold the country together.

    But try telling that to bhakths for whom Modi the Messiah can do no wrong – pogroms, lynchings, demonetisation and other bonkers policies notwithstanding.

  6. Reform needed and this farm law seems not bad looking at bigger picture and a long term view, but an elder statesmanship and all of this narration for Modi Ji, you must be kidding Modi ji don’t believe in all of these his simple philosophy i am only right rest doesn’t matter.

  7. According to Mr. Vij, the author of this article , Farmer added and abated by the anti-Modi forces have been able to exert a pressure and Government of India led by Modi should withdraw the farms bill even though these Bills are necessary and represent the start of agricultural reform process that previous governments never took off. Extending the same logic some people like him may say India is under threat from some enemies amassed on our borders and in the interest of Peace and Tranquillity should hand over what ever Indian territory enemies may ask for. SHAME ON SUCH PERVERTED THINKING.

  8. Modi thinks he can get away with anything he does : Gujarat 2002 complicity; boasting of fake Gujarat ‘model’; vacuous sloganeering like ‘sab ka vikas’; cheating by promising doubling of farmers’ income to get votes; jumla of putting recovered black money in every bank account, etc; followed after 2014 by moronic demonetization’ ; inconsiderate lockdown affecting millions of migrant workers, connivance with Hindutva goondaism against mostly Muslim victims; and now pushing through ‘cleverly’ the farm laws stifling debate; other autocratic decisions like Central Vista project; Because he has an unthinking following of ‘bhakats’. Being a ‘statesman’ is not in his DNA.

  9. What about setting a precedent that laws passed by parliament can be repealed by getting enough mob for enough time and do dharna. What stops a full mobocracy.

  10. Please show the merits & demerits in these laws for each stake holder i.e.Farmer, Middlemen & Consumer. Bring out all these points in public sphere. These so-called protestors are not interested in these discussions. They only want complete repeal. This is not protest. This attitude is not called protest, this is called STUBBORNNESS. The way they block highways, ransack the city after giving assurances of peace is called a SEIGE & sacking of the city. A Statesman listens to his people, not who bows down to Bullies. Tax-paying citizens have to bear the subsidy of their costs (paddy & wheat), then also pay them MSPs higher than international markets (over production & completely dependent on MSPs). To add to this, a tax paying citizen has to also bear the burden of importing those items, which are genuinely needed in this country but are not produced because of complete dependence on MSPs for paddy & wheat. Now tell me, who is the “Anna-daata” here. These so-called leaders of farmers protests are forcing families in their villages to send atleast one person in each family to their protest site or pay fine. This is illegal, pure coercion & not at all peaceful (Gandhigiri). These are desperate acts of desperate people with HOLLOW MORALS.

  11. ‘Repeal farm laws’ today punjab and haryana farmers are asking!!! Tomorrow ‘Repeal triple talaq’ Muslims will ask!!! Day after tomorrow ‘Repeal Article 370’ our J&K people will ask!! Next ‘Repeal tax laws’ I don’t want to pay taxes!!! Where are we heading!!! People forget these laws are passed in Parliament and in a Democratic setup!!! If our country wants to go in to ‘repeal’ syndrome… We don’t respect democracy… then we need to change our system!!!

  12. No matter how well meaning the Farm Laws are for the farmers, if not implemented well, they can fail and have actually failed miserably!!
    Time to repeal now since the Govt lost the precious time earlier due to Modi’s ego war. I have been a strong BJP supporter in the past but they lost have me too along with thousands of farmers.

  13. The farmer agitation has become much too emotional and wide-spread. Farmer community is the largest one faction in the country. Modi may decide to bow now with the promise to come back after all consultations are done and problems addressed and communicated prior to (re)implementation. The lesson is, no matter how good a regulation/law is, if project roll-out is not optimum. It can fail and fail miserably.

  14. The author is correct that the polarisation that the BJP has relied on has led to divisions and lack of trust. The same was seen with CAA-NRC. On the surface, it was made out to be innocuous – giving persecuted minorities in neighbouring countries refuge, what is wrong with that, even if Muslims are excluded. But the way NRC was handled with threats to put people without birth certificates in concentration camps, Muslims saw that it could be coupled with CAA, and Hindus without papers would find relief through the backdoor, and Muslims will be sent selectively to concentration camps. Due to the lack, of trust, aided by Amit Shah’s comments, Muslims came out in protest and others also joined in. India was heading for civil war but was saved by Covid as Shaheen Bagh disbanded.

    But soon after, the BJP govt. created another fissure. Again innocuous reasoning is given – it is for the farmer’s benefit, agriculture will be modernised. But the farmer’s smell a rat – their produce and lands will be taken over by Adani and they will be driven to penury. They do not trust the govt.. Because Adani built silos in advance, so they can see it was a done deal with the govt.. People can see India’s economy is being run for the benefit of Adani and Ambani, who in turn will benefit the BJP. It is crony capitalism, at the expense of the majority. On the CAA-NRC, Modi could stoke anti Muslim feeling. He tried to turn the farmer’s agitation into a Hindu-Sikh thing, but that is not going to work with the Sikhs.

    Meanwhile the economy has gone down the drain, actually since demonetisation. China is taking land, and the govt. is busy with internal fights that brings them money and power.

    Ache din and minimum government and maximum governance were jumlas, that can be retracted. Now it is governance with the police jackboot, and penury for the majority.

  15. There goes any credibility The Print ever had. Keep diluting your brand value and sooner or later your “news organization” will be left over like dust in the annals of history. This “opinion” piece is borderline sedition. The lack of a fundamental understanding of free market economics and economies of scale shows just how illiterate the “protester’s” and this “journalist” really are. This “protest was not about any farm laws. This was a jihadi/khalistani protest. We all see it. Time The Print own up to its biased reporting and worthless reporting and get on the right side of history and the right side of India. Absolutely disgusting on so many levels.

    • The Farmer’s Crisis is certainly not a Khalistani/Jihadi issue. Farmer’s suicides have been going on for years. This is a Kissan issue which needs to be resolved due to the 3 Farm Laws that have been opposed by the farmers. The US deep state Rothchilds and Bilderbergers indirectly control the farmers and the indian economy. Modi billionaires Ambani and Adani are mere deep state puppets.

  16. Never ever the Government should back out from implementation of the farm law. This will set president to future laws passed in Parliament. Tomorrow in some other state some people will protest for some other Law.. To disestablish this country many foreign countries such as Canada are involved openly.In a country of 130 people, 5000 disagreed people can not dictate. If so, why do we need democracy.

  17. If BJP comes back or not in 2024, that should not be an issue. We need progressive thought for development of nation. I think Government should discuss with farmers and come to conclusion, but that conclusion should not be repealing of laws.

  18. The article is complete bullshit without any facts or reasoning. If laws are lacking something amendment is the way. Not to mention, only some farmers from Punjab and Jaat are having problems rest of the farmers in the country have no problem with them. These group of farmers have made their monopoly in the farm sectors of India by exploiting the poor farmers. This is a high time Mdi govt should not give up on these reform. They have been given majority for a reason.

  19. Yes, the hypocrisy of the librandus is amazing. Nor just their lies and poison. Liberals will scream Modi is not using his immense political capital (reaffirmed by the recent November elections) to usher in reforms. When Modi introduces reforms….same librandus will scream anti people.

    Every reform will face opposition by vested interests. And the vested interests here are the rich farmers of Punjab. Tikait is just a cover.

    Punjabis apparently do mot not wish to rescue the sorry condition their state had fallen into.

    And oh, the Captain….kaptaan saab could not give a damn. The match he feels is hopelessly lost. Pity. Punjab will further sink. From green revolution to becoming a drug den. Punjabis deserve better.

  20. Reforms can not happen with “ chalo chodo bad me dekhte hai” attitude , The author is comparing street brawl wd national reform, For author “ chalo chodo tumhare bas ki nahi hai “

  21. What the supporters of the govt in the comments section and elsewhere don’t seem to realise is that the issue is not whether the farm laws are good or bad, whether MSP should stay or go – the issue is of trust. The farming community does not trust the govt’s word. And Modi (and Shah) is squarely to blame for it because the rest of the nation has seen how he has previously gone back on his words as Gujarat CM in opposing GST and Aadhar and MNREGA and then getting behind it as PM, Satya Pal Mishra denying to Farooq Abdulla about abrogation of Article 370 just a day before the government going ahead with it, telling Uddhav Thackeray that Shiv Sena will get a share in power in Maharashtra and then making a deal with Ajit Pawar, eroding the vote share of Nitish Kumar by encouraging Chirag Paswan, trying to entice opposition dynastic politicians with power and money inspite of blaming dynasty politics for all of India’s problems, opposing CAA in Assam but supporting it in Bengal, ditching one of its oldest allies – the Badals in Punjab – when they were no longer needed – the list is practically endless. (Ask SS Vaghela or Keshubhai Patel or LK Advani) Shivam Vij’s advice, though well-meaning, is pointless. Modi can’t suddenly become trustworthy, not with this history behind him.

  22. किसानों से सैकड़ों बार हार कर भी मोदी खुश होंगे. यह.बात तो उनके विरोधी भी जानते है.यदि यह आंदोलन विशुद्ध किसानों का होता. क्या आम आदमी पार्टी भी किसानों की लडाई लड रही है. क्या मजाक है. और आप चाहते हो इनके सामने मोदी घुटने टेक दे।

  23. This article has been authored by someone who earlier wrote “Anything less than 543 is a loss for BJP and Modi”. So not only are his credentials questionable, they outright don’t exist!

  24. Farm laws were never point of contention between farmers and Government. It is fight for existence of CONGRESS, INLD, RLD and revival for SAD. Tikait seems to be enjoying his moment of fame – as long as it can last. There is no harm in breeding ambitions – but true mark of a leader is that a protest should have a purpose and participants should abstain from violence. Unfortunately current day protest leaders do not follow any of the principals mentioned above and this protest has become tool for fulfilling their personal agenda. Modi followers understand this and it makes no difference to BJP Government in center. Unfortunately people dissatisfied from Khattar Government might have looked towards Congress in Haryana but post this protest, Khattar Government is going to emerge as winner again. I hope people understand it makes no difference to Congress Central leadership.

  25. MODIJI yet another win for you.

    Ultra left wing radicals and jihadist propaganda with active support of rented journalist and undereducated jhollawallas have once again demonstrated their hatred towards INDIA , means that will continue their activities and THANKS TO YOU will be exposed every time.

  26. Chhota munh badi baat. Have been saying this all along. 2. It is of course a pleasant coincidence. Within a day of the US Embassy’s statement, 4 G has been restored throughout Kashmir.

  27. Shivam’s asking for repealing is like asking Shekhar Gupta to close down ThePrint. Why only stupid suggestions come from Modi haters?

  28. This guy should try and run and win at a local panchayat election first. Then he should aim for Zilla Parishad or something similar and then aim to win an election in a nation like India with a majority on the basis of a manifesto which people want implemented.
    Any ‘advice’ like this is like someone who hasn’t sat an exam, giving advice to the topper.

  29. Comparing the current situation to a street fight shows your level of intelligence. Everyone can see who is having a big ego: the farm leaders. Govt already amended stuble burning and electricity act and also offered to put the laws on hold for 1.5 yrs. But these so called farmers are having big ego issue and do not want to come to an agreement. They are the ones who is losing support and sympathy

  30. Very unfortunate that educated media folks are doing nothing to generate awareness among farmers but enjoying this politicized protest. If every reform law continues to get repealed, how reform will happen?

    • India is a diverse Country and Agro conditions vary from state to state and within the states. One size fits all reform laws will not work efficiently. Hence the need for consensus. Punjab, Haryana and Western UP contribute substantial quantities to Central Pool , almost 40%. Let us respect them.
      Let us take the 1990 reforms brought by MMS and NR were successful because of backing from Atalji. Atalji was a visionary. Let us not forget his contribution. He was instrumental in containing the Political fallout. It always pays to to carry everyone along where important far reaching reforms are undertaken.

      • ‘Punjab, Haryana and Western UP contribute substantial quantities to Central Pool , almost 40%. ‘
        They need to diversify. The food stores are overflowing with grain which is like burning money. The climate impact on the soil is there for all to see. The impact of stubble burning on the health of the citizens is well documented.
        All these farmers are actually brilliant entrepreuners. The Farm Laws gives them the opportunity to make it big by clubbing together.

  31. No self respecting government elected by the will of the majority can afford to bend before an unelected mob of rich vested interests, who are hell bent to have it their own way with no room for debate, discussion or reasoning. If the farmers wish to have the laws repealed they have the choice to go through parliament without causing inconvenience to fellow citizens. Either they plead their case with current parliamentarians or make it an election issue. If the government gives in to an extra constitutional demand what stops other vested interests from making even more unreasonable demands.

  32. First explain what is wrong with these laws with logic and conviction . Not like usual if this happens then there could is a chance something like that happens down the line .These guys doesn’t have any convincing argume6against these laws and all of them agrees with the lead in private. These laws are the results of long 20 years of deliberations, discussion studies and analysis and moreover sands of these farm unions in the past

  33. It is not about Modi – never was, for us Modi voters – it was always and will always be about country’s well being. If tomorrow Modi starts acting like the way Nehru family does, he’ll get the boot as well.
    What’s interesting is, it is the Left ecosystem which is writhing and squirming in pain for being out of power for so long! But do know regardless of your rants about EVM etc. Indian voters will continue to vote for the betterment of India. Paraphrasing your friend from the West – your time is up.
    As for laws, Indian farmers the real farmers are supporting this law.

  34. A thoroughly bad advice! A politically motivated and unprincipled agitation is not something to yield to. This combination of selfish rich farmers and illiterate poor farmers being misled by politicians and rich farmers must be defeated, if India is to have any chance of much needed reforms being implemented in various fields. And these commentators who think any stick is good enough to beat the government with must introspect about their motives!

  35. As long as such authors exist in The Print Shekhar Gupta can forget becoming a pay channel. Noone reads such crap

  36. By giving space to this idiot Shivam Vij & fanatics like Zainab Sikander , ‘The Print’ is losing its fine credibility. I literally laughed reading this article.

  37. Most of the people know that reforms are good and even most of the farmers know this. Also, wheat harvesting time is near so farmers are bound to leave and only looking for exit. It was a political offensive , esp so after farmers or their reps starting taking a maximalist position w/o ever debating the pro and cons. Even a cong crony like the author realises that laws r good.
    The agitation has run its course. Some r raising bogey of start of militancy _ its all hogwash.
    However, its imp for all indians both for or against modi govt to realise that country is far more imp than anyone. So, there should a stop on the vitriol spilled on social media, everyone needs to step back and see the larger picture. However it is very disturbing to note the sikh religious undertones for this agitation with hotheaded remarks.
    In the end, most of social media commenters arent really effected by afrmer hardships, they hv diff agendas. Farmers shud realise that only reforms will save agr in punjab, as any knowledgable person on agri matters will attest . Global brouhaha will subside but we have to live with it both good and bad of it as a nation.

    Backing off by repeal isnt an option and shudnt be an option as more fundamental reforms in our nation r warranted as a population control. It is more imp for pro reforms people to realise that people will agitate for various right or concoted reasons but only a deep rooted tree will weather the storms both internal and external, hence, people shud refrain from adding fuel to fire by some labelling exercise. Havingvsaid that- anarchy should be dealt with like yogi.
    Likes of kangana and diljeet dosannj are both hypocritical and just fueding their egos in social spaces, both look like fools. As far as libtards, leftist and islamist r concened – they will keep barking, you know how to ignore barking dogs.

  38. In a democracy the KHAP PANCHAYATS of Farmers, or intellectuals and now of Jurnos cannot dictate to the elected government. They all need to wait for their turn which is the next election that is if we want to be a civilized society.
    This right to ask questions even if stupid, is being taken too far. People are just making a living out of it, with no clue of the possible solutions or consequences.

  39. You wrote that “Let us allay the concerns of farmers by repealing the laws without ego, and get back to the task of building consensus on reforming agriculture, clearly laying down what the problem is, and how we can solve it.”

    Farmer leaders about 30 to 35 from two and half states cannot agree or form a consensus, how you are going to build consensus at all India level? This is a pure political agitation and farmers are just scapegoats.

  40. So the only logic for pro-protestors people is, govt should backdown because theres a protest. A very wrong precendense is being set here. Remember Kashi & Mathura temples are still to be liberated. Dont play like this… you will only regret it later.

  41. I can hardly see Shri Narendra Modi fall for such a line of debate and neither should he. If he does it, then other attack dogs will be on him. The farm reforms are good for the nation. A small group of rich farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Western UP, grown fat on an irrational MSP, free electricity, subsidised fertilizer etc and supported by middlemen, Khalistanis flag waving NRIs and anti government forces cannot set the agenda for the rest of the nation.

  42. These laws have been debated endlessly since 1990s. What more does the writer want to debate? If the farmers who are agitating now had used this kind of collaboration in setting up Farmer’s organizations to do collective bargaining, they would have benefitted more. Every damn socialist is supporting this agitation, which itself proves the laws must be good! If there is any ego, it is more on the farmers’ side than the govt. No govt should submit to blackmail or else democracy will become a sham of mobocracy

  43. Great article- well thought thru. The problem, as you have explained is not for the need of farm laws- it is more about his ego and his image- 56 in chest and a tough and decisive guy. In case he repeals the laws, the godi media will blame him for being weak. Like this is his Thatcher moment etc. Why don’t you have a talk to Shekhar Gupta about this issue and see if you can convince him.

    • Interesting headline. I think historians and analysts will find it difficult to figure out if Modiji has ever been magnanimous and at least outwardly behaved like a statesman. His speeches are laced with sarcasm and calls to nationalism. A critical analysis of his actions and deeds as a Prime Minister is much needed but that will most probably be clouded by marketing messages and tweets comparing him to a messiah.

    • Both sides need to shed their egos.
      No need to refer to 56 inch chest etc, when the govt offerred to suspend the farm laws for a period of time and try and evolve consensus.
      Why didn’t the farm unions accept that proposal ?

  44. lousy advice it is politically motivated agitation why cant Punjab government as agriculture is a state subject, encourage farmers to shift from paddy and wheat to other crops. The Punjab farmer has grown too soft with all the subsdies and easy way thru MSP.
    Modi should stick to his guns

  45. Can you list down what are the short comings or negative aspects of the new farm reform laws.
    Or like everyone else you also want to talk on generic things which don’t explain what is actually wrong with the new reforms.
    No media houses are willing to talk objectively about the merits & demerits point by point basis.

    We had seen a similar agitation when Arjun Singh HRD Minister under UPA had increased the reservation quota and students went on agitation. Nobody seemed to care to suspend or repeal those laws.

    When you don’t have logical arguments to debate on merits and de-merits of the laws. Then you give these lame examples of street brawl going on for too long.
    This shows the intellectual bankruptcy or sheer ignorance.
    You can continue to keep writing such articles. In the mean time Govt will give water & electricity to all the houses before 2024 just like they did with housing and toilets.

  46. So farm laws are good as per the author but they should be implemented slowly, very slowly like how India has been dragging its feet for the past 70 years … What a sham of an opinion piece, looks like he is suffering from multiple personality disorder where all his personalities truly hate Modi….

    • Last 70 years? you dumb plonker – India had its last famine in 1943 – 69years ago! That is why the Green revolution agri policies were implemented. Buy a clue.

  47. The sad part about this article – and most of center left intelligentsia – is that their pleasure of seeing Modi bend far outweigh the pain of massive loss of a critical reform. If the government bends this time, you can expect everyone – labor unions to PSU employees- to follow the template of blackmailing the government. Modi, stands strong because he knows vast majority of people silently back him.

    • Well Said Anshul.

      Farmers leaders had a great chance when the Government offered one and half year moratorium on these farm laws. The leaders should have taken this and could have been a face saving exercise for them.

      Author wrote that “Let us allay the concerns of farmers by repealing the laws without ego, and get back to the task of building consensus on reforming agriculture, clearly laying down what the problem is, and how we can solve it.”

      Farmer leaders about 30 to 35 from two and half states cannot agree or form a consensus, how you are going to build consensus at all India level? This is a pure political agitation and farmers are just scapegoats.

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