India: renouncing its agricultural reform, Narendra Modi gives for first time during a social conflict

The Prime Minister announced, on Friday, November 19, the withdrawal of his agricultural reform, at the origin of a movement of unpublished magnitude of the Indian peasants.


Narendra Modi took everyone in the short. The Indian Prime Minister has decided to cancel his agricultural reform against whom farmers have been protesting for more than a year by keeping blockworks at the gates of New Delhi, the longest and massive protest since India’s independence in 1947. The head of government made a surprise announcement to the nation, at 9.00, Friday, November 19th.

“We will begin the constitutional process of repealing these three laws during the parliamentary assignment that begins at the end of the month,” he said. These laws, adopted by Parliament in September 2020 without consultation with the unions, modified the conditions of sale of agricultural products, and liberalized trade by opening it to private investors.

They especially reformed the “mandis” system, state-regulated markets, which guaranteed farmers to sell their essential products, such as wheat or rice at a minimum price. This point was crucial for Indian peasants, very poor mostly, indebted and possessing only small plots. They feared to be crushed by traders and lose some of their income.

Fear of an electoral setback

“I call all the farmers participating in the manifestations to return home, to find their loved ones, their farms and their families, in this favorable day of Guru Purab. Let’s take a new beginning, let’s go forward,” A launched Narendra Modi. The prime minister’s announcement intervenes at a key moment on the birth of Guru Nanak, the founder of sikhism. Now, among the protesters, a vast majority are Sikhs du Punjab and the government had to fear from an electoral setback, two years before the general elections.

After a year of futile negotiations, then forgotten – the government for months of ignoring the protest – the gesture of Narendra Modi is eminently political. Two key polls will take place at the beginning of 2022 in the Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, two high places of peasant protest.

 The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the State of Uttar Pradesh, November 16, 2021. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, November 16, 2021. – / AFP

Punjab is currently in the hands of the congress, but the latter has recently torn into internal quarrels, and the training of Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, Right Nationalist Hindu), wants Make alliance with the former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to conquer Punjab. The latter had stretched the reform, during his adoption, intended accordingly “to fill the pockets of the capitalist friends of the BJP, to the detriment of the poor farmers, who will be the prey of the great sharks”.

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/Media reports.