When did the BJP decide to repeal the ‘black laws’? Here’s a clue

The BJP’s national executive meeting earlier in November omitted the issue entirely

Farmers have been protesting against the laws for months | File Photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday (November 19) said that the government would repeal the three ‘black laws’ designed to ‘reform’ India’s agricultural sector.

The announcement came as a surprise as the government had until just a few weeks ago insisted that the contentious laws would benefit the farmers.

A major clue that the BJP – which is looking at huge electoral losses in Uttar Pradesh and a possible rout in Punjab next year, according to opinion polls – had had a rethink on the issue came less than a fortnight ago, during the meeting of its national executive, and the contrast it presented against the February national executive.

As expected, the political resolutions adopted by the BJP at both meetings lauded Modi’s leadership on a range of issues. The November resolution, however, completely omitted any reference to the farm laws.

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Also read: Explained: Understanding the new farm laws and farmer protests

This omission was an indication of a rethink in the BJP – which had already been rattled by losses in by-elections to three assembly constituencies and one parliamentary seat in Himachal Pradesh on October 30, and the October 3 violence in Lakhimpur Kheri, in which four farmers and a journalist were run over by a car allegedly belonging to the Union minister of state for home affairs, Ajay Kumar Mishra.

Briefing reporters on the political resolution, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman skirted the issue of farm laws and instead said that Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was always ready to talk to the farmers. “They have to tell us the one point they have an objection to. To date, they have not specified that point,” she said.

The resolution adopted by the party in February, though, not only justified the farm laws as being “in the interest of farmers”, but also applauded Modi for enacting them. 

The resolution had come almost a month after the breakdown of talks between the government and agitating farmer unions in January, and was adopted by BJP national office bearers with the prime minister in attendance.

“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,” it said.

“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 resolution said even as the talks with the farmers collapsed and the protests continued.

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