Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Decoding Modi on farm laws: What’s that which most are missing?

Image: Courtesy The Quint

Nobody had foreseen it but here we are. The three farm laws are gone as if they never happened. The two opposing sides, Protesting Farmers and the Modi government, would take their own share of joy and dejection. We the citizens, a stakeholder no less in the dream called India, would’ve our own takeaways. Prime Minister Narendra Modi would lose support of millions. His detractors, be sure, would also increase in millions. 

The Modi we know stood up to China in Doklam and otherwise. He made surgical strikes in Pakistan. He did the impossible in Jammu and Kashmir. Demonetisation itself was daring. These were political gambles which could’ve gone horribly wrong. As he entrenched himself, and his legions of enemies were pushed to the cliff, the rules of the game changed. 

India’s opposition has a hierarchy. As long as Congress ruled, it put its pawns in the entire ecosystem of bureaucracy, media and academics and flanked itself with Leftist and Islamist forces. Hindus were divided anyway to matter little. It suited the imperialists, the colonialists who had left India in their hands, first as a Dominion and then as cohoots in the goal of Commonwealth. All went swimmingly till 2014 happened. And then 2019. What was an aberration of Atal Behari Vajpayee, now looked good for decades. Hindus were resurgent: Those in hinterland could see changes in their lives. Those educated and in Urban India, whispered and connected on social media. 

The echo went beyond this Opposition in India. In many ways, they are just puppets. The masters were in the background, the West, who had left India only on paper. They were happy as long as their dummies controlled India. But Modi’s rise was an India lost. It was a lawfully elected government and it was putting a premium on nationalism, against the globalists. The answer was unrest. To stoke up the communal fire first in Muslims and then in Sikhs. To scare them that they are not safe in a Hindu India. And Indian media, who is fed by them—part of the entire Western Media ecosystem—did as ordered. 

West, in hopeless situations, captures streets. It happened in Ukraine, Tunisia, Egypt, Hungary, erstwhile Yugoslavia etc and more recently in Hong Kong. Their NGOs and civil society lobbies get at work. A resisting government is imaged as brutish in media. It whips up emotions in neutrals; it’s the fodder which the likes of US Congress and British Parliament latch on to, having triggered it in the first place. 

So it happened in India. We saw it in CAA. We saw it in farmers’ protest. Streets were occupied. “Azaadi” rendered the air in Left-Islamist universities. Judiciary was paralysed. The Modi government found itself shackled to the oath of Constitution. Opposition states voted down on CBI probes, CAA, farmers protest and recently on BSF in assemblies. 

REPEALING OF FARM LAWS

As I see it, the biggest disappointment amongst Modi’s supporters is: 

Why now? 

  • When the farm protest had all but lost its steam? 
  • Isn’t it a Code you’ve given to India-breakers to occupy Streets on one pretext or the other? 
  • Won’t they ensure that no Bill/Act sees the light by hijacking the streets and rendering judiciary impotent?
  • What’s the message you are giving to your own grassroots members, never mind the millions of your voters and millions more who see a future of India in you? 
  • And what’s the guarantee that the protesting farmers would vacate streets and return to home? 

It’s unlikely that a consummate politician like Modi, with his ears to the ground, must not have weighed all these variables. It’s also unlikely he didn’t sound RSS or an Amit Shah or a Ajit Doval or had them all on board. In this chessboard, he must have thought of moves two scores in advance. 

One undeniable trigger is the Uttar Pradesh elections. It holds key to 2024 general polls. Yogi Adityanath could lose 66 seats in the 403-seat assembly elections in western UP—in the Lok Sabha polls, it’s still a sizeable 25 in number. The protesting farmers would lose their card to whip up its community in UP’s west now.  

I don’t think Punjab polls matters that much to Modi. Not big enough anyway to lose his face on farm laws. I also don’t think the ISI-Khalistan shadow has made him quake in his boots. BJP would lose the biggest USP it has, that is nationalism, if it surrenders to foreign forces. Occupied streets, I don’t think either, gives him sleepless nights. For Modi’s audience is those faceless people who vote him to power. His two tenures, above anything else, bear his commitment to attend to their basic needs of housing, health, electricity, water, social welfare etc. 

I also don’t think Modi is unaware of resentment in his own ranks, and the groundswell of anger—dare I say amongst most who see him as India’s saviour—on this repealing of farm laws, close on the heels of disappointment in Bengal and its post-poll violence.

It’s a political suicide in simple terms. 

Let’s give credit to Modi as a political strategist who thinks of moves which the rest can’t even fathom. His career is a testimony that his finger is always on national pulse. He is not the one to chicken out, nor the one who would hand over India to its enemies on a plate. 

So, where were three farm laws before today? In a freezer for 18 months. He could always bring them again in another form. Why lose UP in the process? To be in Centre without UP is chasing a wild goose. 

Now let’s weigh the perception battle. For the moment, its a loss-loss. You’ve caused mutiny in your own ranks; your enemies have tasted blood in the pool. They now have a template. But all this could change if Modi has Farm Laws 2.0 in mind. For he is unlikely to abandon a move which benefits crores and crores of farmers in the country. His farms laws had also pricked the biggies in WTO and a frightening food lobby which operates away from the public limelight. 

Modi perhaps has also gauged that protesting farmers would still not withdraw from Delhi’s gates. They would still pick on MSP bill as a reason to stay put, what if all three farm laws have been repealed. But it still would be battle for these farm leaders—whom Modi himself had called “Andolanjeevis” not long ago—-to keep their flock together. If these Generals don’t have foot soldiers on their back, how far do you think ISI or Khalistanis could keep the agenda going. What do you sell to innocent farmers whom you had hoodwinked on the fear of their land and livelihood all this while. 

And if you still stay put—and they would do their darnest best not to depart from Delhi’s gates—it would certainly disgust millions who are neutral and are taken in by the media’s propaganda. Anyone who is supporting them, be it Akali Dal or Congress or AAP or Sharad Pawar, would all take a massive hit. 

All this, on the presumption that it’s nothing but a tactical retreat by Modi. If it’s just an election candy, and it’s not the Modi we know, it would be the end of a dream. Of a resurgent nation and its civilization. We would again be hostage to anti-India forces. 

However, with Modi’s known sense of destiny, and the vision for India, the strength he wants India to exude, I would be surprized if its nothing but a tactical manoeuvring. His entire political career would end in shame; his place in history in infamy if it’s otherwise. 

If I am wrong, India would’ve been betrayed by one man who appeared a saviour in centuries. I, for one, am still betting on the man. 

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