Repeal of the three farm laws has come as a political and administrative relief for the BJP-JJP coalition government in Haryana which has been fire-fighting the law and order fallout of an unrelenting farmer agitation for around a year.
It all started on November 25 when farmers from Punjab assembled in Ambala with their ‘Dilli chalo’ call. The agitation soon gathered momentum in Haryana. The state’s proximity to New Delhi led to farmer unions pitching permanent tents on the Haryana-Delhi border at two locations, Singhu and Tikri, hindering the major arteries to the national capital.
As the agitation gathered momentum, the emboldened farm union leaders started targeting the BJP-JJP coalition leaders through boycott calls and more seriously, by disrupting their functions and field visits.
That led to multiple clashes between farmers and the police. With the Opposition parties, the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) at the back of farmers, the farmers’ stir polarised the state polity.
A string of confrontations in Ambala, Karnal and Jind spiked tensions, even as the Khattar government claimed to have exercised “utmost restraint” while dealing with the delicate law and order crisis.
Adding to the BJP’s woes, it’s own senior leader and former Union minister Birender Singh came out in support of farmers and counselled the state government to resolve the deadlock. Farmers’ protest resonated in the recent bypoll in Ellenabad in which the BJP lost to INLD despite having improved its vote share. In fact, the farmers’ unrest seemed to overshadow a series of pro-peasantry initiatives of the state government.
All that is set to change after the Prime Minister’s announcement on Friday, says Prof Rajender Sharma, of political science department at the Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, adding, “The political and economic activities will finally resume after a year of disruption.”
Narendra Kumar Bishnoi, head of the business economics department at Hisar’s Guru Jambheshwar University, said the farmers’ economic condition has not improved in the last seven to eight years. “They are losing confidence in government policies. They do not trust the government’s three farm laws which were basically good for them. Instead of looking for foreign companies, the government should motivate local traders and farmers to start agro-based projects,” he added.