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A fortnight ago, BJP meet signalled rethink on the three farm laws

The segment dealing with farming in the Political Resolution adopted by the BJP national executive had completely omitted any reference to the three farm laws.

Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced repealing the three contentious farm laws today, the serious rethink on this issue was revealed by the BJP less than a fortnight ago during their meeting of the national executive.

The segment dealing with farming in the Political Resolution adopted by the BJP national executive had completely omitted any reference to the three farm laws. This was a major signal of serious rethink on the issue within the leadership. Reason being, a resolution adopted by the party’s national office bearers meeting in February not only had justified the three farm laws enacted last year as being “in the interest of farmers” but also applauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for enacting them. The February resolution had come almost a month after the breakdown of talks between the government and agitating farmer unions in January. The February resolution was adopted by party national office bearers with the Prime Minister in attendance.

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“The government brought in three farm laws in the interest of farmers to ensure they get the right price for their produce, their farm income doubles and that they have the freedom to sell their farm produce where they want to. To meet these ends, the PM Modi-led central government has brought in three farm laws. The party applauds the Central government under the leadership of PM Shri Narendra Modi ji for bringing in the three laws,” the February resolution said even as the talks between the farmers protesting against the three farm laws had collapsed and farmers continued their protests.

In contrast, the resolution adopted by the much larger national executive committee of the ruling party on November 7 virtually referred to every other measure — from the release of new varieties of crops, farm credit, PM-KISAN, FPOs, Kisan Rail among other – old and new targeting farmers but did not mention the three farm laws.

This omission of reference to farm laws during the November resolution signalled a rethink within the party ahead of crucial assembly elections to Uttar Pradesh and Punjab where members of farm communities are up in arms against the BJP. Most recently, the incident at Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh raised political temperature on the issue in the state.

Briefing the reporters about the political resolution adopted by the BJP national executive, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman skirted the issue of omission of the reference of the farm laws in the resolution and instead asserted that Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar is always ready to talk to the protesting farmers. “They have to tell us the one point they have an objection to. To date, they have not specified that point,” Sitharaman had said.

But the die was cast and the leadership had taken a call. The announcement today timed with Guru Nanak Jayanti is aimed to connect to the agitating farmers from Punjab a majority of whom belong to the Sikh community.

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