While addressing the nation on November 19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the three contentious farm laws -The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 & The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 – would be repealed in the upcoming session of Parliament. The move comes after months of protests by agitating farmers & several farmers’ organizations who fear that the laws will pave the way for corporate exploitation. In the big announcement, the PM also urged “all protesting farmers to return to their homes and farms”.
To understand the mood of the nation with regard to the Centre’s decision, location-based social network Public conducted the ‘Public ki Awaaz’ poll to gauge the views of Bharat users across multiple parameters.
- 68% of participants approved of the Centre’s withdrawal of farm bills.
- 68% believe the move is in the interest of farmers.
- Around 60% felt the decision was driven by upcoming elections in 5 states including Punjab and UP.
- 65% believe the withdrawal was prompted by farmers’ protests.
- The poll recorded over 7.6 lakh responses.
A decision in the right direction
The majority of respondents who participated in the poll believe that the decision to repeal the farm laws is right. 68.17% expressed their satisfaction with the move, while about 17% disagreed. About 15% remained undecided.
Likewise, 68% believe the withdrawal of farm laws, which have been a yearlong point of contention between the Centre and the farmers, are in the latter’s interest. However, 17% of respondents said they do not think the decision is in the best interest of farmers.
Interestingly, for further amicable decision making, PM Modi also announced that a committee will be formed to make Minimum Support Price (MSP) more effective as well as suggest ways to promote zero budgeting based-agriculture. The committee will have representatives of the Central Government, state governments, farmers, agricultural scientists, and agricultural economists, he said.
What led to the withdrawal?
Many users of the Public platform believe that the Centre’s decision was prompted by the farmers’ protests (65%). Farmers have been protesting against these laws at the borders of Delhi since November last year, as talks between them & the Centre remained inconclusive. The decision could also be influenced by the pressure from opposition parties, as many respondents believe (12%). About 23% said the decision was taken at free will.
Although the withdrawal has been lauded as a stepping stone in their efforts, the Bhartiya Kisan Union has said, “The farmers’ protests won’t be withdrawn immediately. We’ll wait for the day when the farm laws will be repealed in the Parliament.”
A political masterstroke?
Many even believe the decision was taken to appease the farmer vote bank ahead of assembly in 5 states, including Punjab & UP wherein the composition of protesting farmers is the highest. This thought resounds with the majority of poll respondents: around 60% believe the reason behind repealing the laws is the upcoming state elections sometime next year. However, about 40% either disagree with this or are unsure about the sudden announcement.
Of those who see it as a politically motivated move, 50% believe that it will help the BJP in the state elections of UP & Punjab, while 26% believe that it will not help. About 23% remained undecided.