- Arrogance and muscularity may play havoc.
As expected the eighth round of talk between farmer’s representative and government failed as both sides are adamant on their stand. Farmers are not ready on anything less than the repeal of three controversial farm laws and government too is not ready to repeal them asking the farmers to suggest an alternative other than the repeal of laws. Very cleverly the government challenged the farmers to go to Supreme Court and farmers knowing well the track record of SC judgments mostly going in favour of the government refused to be trapped. Moreover, the fact remains that the Supreme Court could only decide on the constitutionality of any law not on the policy matters as this case is. According to the farmer’s leaders the ministers told them that the issue is best resolved by the court asking farmers to appear in the next hearing. They also assured the farmers that the government will request the SC for day to day hearing so that the issue is resolved immediately and the government will abide by any decision court delivers. The farmer’s leaders refused this offer. It is a surprising offer from the government side. Is it so sure that like in many earlier cases this time too, the SC decision will go in its favour? Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch leader Ms. Kavita Kuruganti terming it as a “sad day for the democracy when an elected government in the middle of the talks takes resort in the Supreme Court and says that we should fall back on the court.”
Here the constitutionality of laws is not questioned. It is a policy matter and related with the livelihood of millions of farmers and food security of the nation. Farmers have not only refused to fall in the trap of the government but have even refused to accept any court judgement which goes against their demands. All India Kisan Sabha leader Hannan Mollah has said that “No matter what the decision of the court is if it is against farmers we will not accept it and if needed will go to jail.” “These laws are the death knell for the farmers” he further said.
Farmers are braving the hardship of the weather including winter season rains but are not ready to show the back. About sixty farmers so far have been martyred many have fallen ill but their courage and determination is unshakeable. More and more farmers are joining them from all over the country. Even the death of sixty farmers has not deterred the government from its stand of not repealing the controversial laws.
Actually the meeting started in tense atmosphere. Minsters blamed the farmer’s leaders with not coming with any alternative proposal apart from repeal. Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar told the farmer’s leaders firmly that the government is not going to repeal the laws as it has also to take into consideration the interest of the farmers of the whole country and those farmer’s group who are supporting these laws. Was not this an attempt by the government to break the farmer’s unity?
But the farmer’s leaders refused to budge even Mr. Balbir Singh Rajewal replied in a more harsh term and shouted, accusing the government of being arrogant and adamant. The farmer’s leaders told the government of their resolve to do or die saying we will not go back to our homes until the laws are repealed.
Congress terming the attitude of the government as inhuman said the Narendra Modi government would go down as the most inhuman and ruthless government in the history of India. Mr. Rahul Gandhi tweeted “those whose intentions are not clear, their strategy is to give dates after dates.” Earlier party general secretary Ms. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had met MPs and MLAs from Punjab and asserted that there was no other solution than repealing the laws.
A day before the meeting the farmers have shown their strength and resolve by bringing out a tractor rally in which about seven thousand tractors from Punjab Haryana and west UP joined. The farmers have announced to bring out a tractor parade on eve of republic day if these laws are not repealed. Just imagine what will happen in that eventuality will the government stop this proposed rally forcefully ordering forces even to open fire on farmers. Is the government ready for another Jalianwala Bagh or Tiananmen square. At the moment there seems to be no immediate solution of the issue and the confrontation seems to be imminent. The ball is in centre’s court. Leaving aside its muscular policy it should repeal the controversial laws and start consultations with all stake holders and frame new laws to the satisfaction of all, but it needs flexibility and statesmanship not muscularity and arrogance. Time is short and the government will have to rise to the occasion to avoid bloodshed.