Farmers' protest will continue until laws scrapped in Parliament: Tikait
The farmers' protest will not be withdrawn immediately, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said on Friday. His statement came soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that three controversial agricultural laws passed last year will be rolled back. Tikait said the protesting farmers will wait for the laws to be officially scrapped and resolution of several other issues before heading back home.
Why does it matter?
- Tikait's statement implies that the impending reopening of Delhi's borders will take longer as protesting farmers may not leave yet.
- He accused the Modi government of making the announcement without holding discussions with the farmers.
- He reiterated the issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP) should be resolved soon.
- PM Modi's announcement notably came just months before the Punjab Assembly elections.
'How can we go back?'
"The agitation will not be taken back. We will wait for the day when the farm laws will be scrapped in the Parliament," Tikait tweeted. "By asking forgiveness, things do not become okay. About going back home, there are so many issues, MSP, pollution, arrests, financial and legal matters, unless those are resolved, how can we go back," he said in a separate statement.
Farmers' leaders to hold meeting
Tikait, a key face of the agitation, said a meeting of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) will be convened on Friday to discuss the announcement. SKM is an umbrella body of farmers' unions spearheading the protest. "Further course of action will be decided accordingly...We need to honor their (farmers') sacrifice while taking any decision," he told Hindustan Times.
Laws to be repealed in upcoming Parliament session
On Friday, the occasion of Sikh festival Gurpurab, PM Modi said in an unscheduled address the farm laws will be withdrawn. "We haven't been able to explain to our farmers. This is not a time to blame anyone. I want to tell you that we have taken the farm laws back." The laws will be repealed in the upcoming Winter Session of the Parliament.
Why were the farmers protesting?
Thousands of farmers have been camping at Delhi's borders to protest the laws. They said the laws would leave them at the mercy of corporates and deprive them of their minimum assured earnings. The Centre, on the other hand, said the laws were meant for their benefit and to maximize their income. Multiple rounds of discussions between the protesters and government officials proved inconclusive.
Reactions to PM Modi's decision
Farmers and politicians have welcomed PM Modi's decision to repeal the laws. "The country's farmers have defeated arrogance with their satyagraha," tweeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. However, critics said the decision has been taken to help the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prospects in Punjab polls due to held in February-March 2022. The BJP has little following in the state, currently ruled by the Congress.