NEW DELHI: The protesting farmers as well as the BJP’s detractors are rejoicing ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced repeal of the three farm laws in his address to the nation on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti on Friday morning. Contrary to this, the BJP leaders are defending the decision and attributing it to national security concerns.
BJP insiders said the Narendra Modi government’s decision to repeal the three farm laws in the forthcoming Winter Session of Parliament starting on November 29 has largely to do with national security.
They said on the condition of anonymity, “The farmers’ movement was being explored by vested interest groups who wanted to use this movement to weaken India. It was giving those who support Khalistan, Pakistan ISI network and other such groups the fodder to internally weaken India.”
They further said, “PM Modi is clear that nothing comes before the unity and integrity of India. Nothing that weakens our strategic interests should be allowed to continue.”
Other BJP leaders too defended PM Modi’s announcement and gave other reasons behind it. They elaborated on the PM’s respect for Sikhs and his concern for the farmers.
They also sought to present a contrast with the Congress vis-a-vis the Sikhs and the farmers.
They said, “In the early 1980s, when the Sikh community had grievances, they were met with the full might of the Indian state under the personal supervision of Mrs Indira Gandhi. Without proper planning, the Golden Temple became a war zone. In contrast, PM Modi withdrew the farm bills on the Parkash Purab of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.”
Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, in a press conference after the PM’s address, said agriculture was a state subject and suggested that the reforms should have come from the states.
Replying to such remarks, the BJP leaders said the party has a powerful majority in both houses of Parliament and it also controls a large majority of states. “Yet, the prime minister has taken a decision because it was clear that there were still a small number of people who were opposing the farm laws and did not see the good that was to come out of it. PM Modi has taken the more democratic and statesmanlike approach.”
Justifying the government’s efforts over the three farm reform laws, they said through the last year it made several attempts to diffuse the crisis. Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar held several rounds of talks.
“The matter went to the Supreme Court and the Centre was willing to keep the laws on hold for two years. Yet, when it finally did not work the government took this decision,” they reasoned.
On PM Modi’s feelings for the Sikh community, they said he is very sensitive to them.
They said, “A few days back, on the request of many Sikh community members, the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor was opened again. On the Parkash Purab of Guru Nanak, the farm laws were repealed.”
They also said PM Modi has spent a few years in Punjab and Chandigarh doing political work, where he developed a “close bond” with the Sikh community.
“As CM (chief minister of Gujarat), he took personal interest in repairing Lakhpat Gurudwara in Kutch which was destroyed due to the earthquake of 2001,” they added.
The BJP leaders sought to remind that the 350th Parkash Purab of Guru Gobind Singh and the 550th Parkash Purab of Guru Nanak were marked with great enthusiasm by the Modi government. In 2021, the 400th Parkash Purab of Guru Tegh Bahadur was also marked despite the COVID restrictions.
They said, “PM Modi has visited gurudwaras in Delhi and mingled with ordinary people. He will never let the Sikh community down. Recently, Sikhs were rescued from Afghanistan and their holy books were also brought back with dignity.”
Welcoming the decision, home minister Amit Shah said in a tweet: “PM @narendramodi’s announcement relating to the farm laws is a welcome and statesmanlike move. As the Prime Minister pointed out in his address, the Government of India will keep serving our farmers and always support them in their endeavours…. What is unique about PM @narendramodi Ji’s announcement is that he picked the special day of ‘Guru Purab’ to make this announcement. It also shows there is no other thought except the welfare of each and every Indian for him. He has shown remarkable statesmanship.”
What is unique about PM @narendramodi Ji’s announcement is that he picked the special day of ‘Guru Purab’ to make t… https://t.co/SLEJJW0z0E
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) 1637305158000
Defence minister Rajnath Singh too appreciated the decision. In a tweet, he said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to repeal the three farm laws in the interest of the farmers and by respecting their sentiments. This decision portrays the sensitiveness towards the welfare of farmers. I welcome this decision of the prime minister.”
आज प्रधानमंत्री श्री @narendramodi ने किसानों के हित में और उनकी भावनाओं का सम्मान करते हुए तीन कृषि क़ानूनों को वा… https://t.co/9mElZ39leo
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) 1637306566000
Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said in a Koo: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on the farm laws presents his sensitiveness and commitment towards the welfare of our annadata – the farmers. This step taken on the pious day of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Parkash Parv underlines his resolve for progress of the country by taking everybody together.”
Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, in a one line comment, said, “The decision of the prime minister on the farm bills is praiseworthy.”
माननीय प्रधानमंत्री श्री @narendramodi जी का कृषि बिलों का निर्णय अभिनंदनीय है…
— Narendra Singh Tomar (@nstomar) 1637312750000
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the decision was a service to the small farmers. Her tweet said: “On the occasion of Shri Guru Nanak ji Jayanti, PM Narendra Modi speaks on seva being performed for the betterment of small farmers.”
On the occasion of Shri. Guru Nanak ji Jayanti @PMOIndia @narendramodi speaks on seva being performed for the b… https://t.co/6f8LsbV3Rv
— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) 1637292968000