Three controversial farm laws at the heart of massive farmer protests across the country for over a year will be withdrawn, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today in a stunning announcement just months before elections in states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
The move comes on the festival of Guru Purab, when Sikhism founder Guru Nanak's birthday is celebrated, mainly in Punjab.
"While apologising to the nation, I want to say with a sincere and pure heart that maybe something was lacking in our tapasya (dedication) that we could not explain the truth, as clear as the light of the diya, to some of our farmer brothers. But today is Prakash Parv, not the time to blame anyone. Today, I want to tell the country that we have decided to repeal the three farm laws," PM Modi said in an address to the nation.
"In the Parliament session starting the end of this month, we will complete the process of repealing the three laws," he said.
"I would request all my protesting farmer friends, today is the auspicious day of Guru Purab, return home to your fields and your families and make a new beginning, let us move forward afresh."
Farmers feed each other sweets and celebrate after PM Modi announced that he will repeal the controversial farm laws.
Before the big climb-down, the Prime Minister defended the laws saying they were meant as reforms, mainly for small and marginal farmers in the country.
"Whatever I did was for farmers. What I am doing is for the country."
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have been camping outside Delhi since November 2020, demanding that the "black laws" be withdrawn. The BJP has faced massive anger in northern states, something it cannot afford as it preps for big elections ahead, including the 2024 national polls.
Rakesh Tikait, a top farmer leader, said the protesters would wait till the laws were repealed in the session starting on November 29.
The farmer protests did not stop through several rounds of talks between the government and farmers, disruptions in parliament and Supreme Court hearings on petitions challenging the laws.
"We regret we could not convince all farmers. Only a section of them was opposing the laws, but we kept trying to educate and inform them," PM Modi said
Three controversial farm laws at the heart of massive farmer protests across the country for over a year will be withdrawn, PM Narendra Modi said in a stunning announcement just months before elections in states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.