India will scrap the three controversial news farm laws that led to angry street protests by farmers’ groups over the last year, the biggest step back by Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he assumed power in 2014.
In a televised address to the nation on Friday, the prime minister apologized for failing to convince a section of farmers and said the Parliament will repeal the controversial legislation by end of the month.
“The purpose of the new laws was to strengthen the country’s farmers,especially small farmers,” he said. “We have failed to convince some farmers despite all our efforts.”
The move doesn’t threaten the government but the backtracking could potentially dent Modi’s image as a strong and decisive leader.
The announcement comes ahead of key provincial polls where farmers are an influential voting bloc and the yearlong protests by hundreds of thousands of farmers could determine its outcome. The government had, so far, refused to budge from its position which protesting farmers claimed would ruin their livelihoods, making it the longest stand-off yet under Modi’s rule since 2014.
The government had insisted the new policy would benefit the growers and refused to withdraw the laws. The Supreme Court too had ordered temporary suspension of the laws, but the agitators had refused to compromise.
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