By Srinivasan Nandagopal
Modi Govt. Buys More Time; Farmers Still Left High And Dry
As the apex court reprimanded the Government and in lashed at it saying that the SC will have to take recourse to suspend the Farm Law, there was an air of relief for the agitating farmers. However, the posting of the verdict for the next day did raise apprehensions of sorts regarding the verdict being in the same spirit as the statements made by the Honorable judges including the CJI during the hearing.
It seems the apprehensions have come true. In a very carefully worded verdict, the three judge bench has on one hand asked the Government to keep the three laws in abeyance and on the other, kept the ball rolling for the Government to buy more time with the constitution of a high powered committee to discuss the matter all over again with the farmers’ leaders.
It is surely a welcome verdict with regard to the immediate non-implementation of the laws and the granting of legal right for the farmers to take to peaceful protest. However, it surely will not help the lakhs of farmers who are braving the chill conditions and are on a mission with a single liner demand – “Repeal the Laws”. Here, the Supreme Court order comes as a very diplomatic statement, rather than a concrete solution.
Analyzing the chronicle of events that led to the intervention of the Supreme Court, the arguments put forth by the Government through its Attorney General, the strong observations of the three judges and the subsequent verdict, it is very clear that farmers will have to wait and continue to lay siegeon the borders of the national capital.
In a tactical move, the Government has also informed the supreme court that it file an affidavit regarding the infiltration of anti-national elements into the protests namely Khalistanis, thus trying to impress upon the judiciary to delegitimize the protests. In a way, buying more time to further put the farmers into fatigue.
“Farmers are Adamant”, says the Government but there seems no reason for them not to be so as they were not the ones who pleaded for the court’s interference in the matter. Their demands have been crystal clear about the repealing of the laws, no matter a committee is constituted or not. Thus, their stand not to appear before the expert committee is valid by all means. Will the SC slap contempt proceedings on the farmers’ organisations, is to be awaited.
In every possible angle, it is the Modi Government which stands to gain though the farmers’ movement can be labeled “Partially Successful”, for a reason that they can continue their agitation, that too with certain raiders. The keeping in abeyance the farm laws, does not mean a setback to the Government, if taken in the grammatical sense of it. The constitution of the expert panel is also seen as a move that will only help the Union Government as the nominated members have expressed their pro-farm law view points on different occasions both in media and outside.
In simple terms, all but the farmer seems to enjoy the last laugh. Will the Union Government’s firmness in not repealing the laws weigh heavier than the tirelessly agitating farmers who have thrown all their stakes into the ring.
Will the Farmer continue to be “Adamant” till the laws are repealed? Will he budge under the enormous pressure from all quarter, as the Government looks forward to?
For now, Government is surely having a sigh of relief as they say that the ball is in the ‘Farmers’ Court’.
(Writer is an Independent Journalist, HRD Facilitator and Co-Founder of Centre for Integrated Learning. The opinions in the article is purely personal)