Stakeholders are banking on putting pressure on the government to repeal the laws, in Parliament and on streets.

 

New Delhi: The over two-month protest by farmers and middlemen against the three farm laws is likely to become “big” in the coming days with farm leaders and strategists, who are guiding the protesters, banking on putting pressure on the government to repeal the farm laws on two fronts—in Parliament and on the streets.

According to the strategists behind the protest, the number of participants to take part in the protest, who will reach Delhi from other parts of India, especially from the Southern region, will start increasing as the winter recedes from the country. The strategists believe that by the end of February, the number of protesters who will be squatting would grow “exponentially” from what it is right now in various border areas of Delhi.

The farmer leaders, who according to officials sources and by the own admission of the farmers, are in talks with leaders of various Opposition parties, believe that the “parliamentary pressure” on the government that will be generated inside the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in support of the protesting farmers, coupled with the increasing number of protesters on the street by the time Holi arrives—which is in the last week of March—will force the government to accept the demands of the agitating protesters.

It is pertinent to mention that the Opposition parties led by Congress have made it clear that they were supporting the farmers completely, with senior Congress leader de-facto party president Rahul Gandhi making it clear that the Central government has no other option but to repeal the three laws.

The budget session of Parliament which began on 29 January will go on till 15 February and then resume again on 8 March before ending on 8 April. The strategists believe that “it will not be easy for Modi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) to fight on two fronts—in the Parliament and on the streets”.

According to them, a lot of “uproar” from farmers was coming against the farm laws from “new states” that were earlier silent, like Bihar, Maharashtra, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and it was expected that by mid-February, many of the protesters from these states will reach Delhi to join the protesters who are already campaigning. This will, according to official sources, put pressure on Member of Parliaments from these “new” states to come out in support of the protesters.

The protesting farmer leaders, as per information assessed by The Sunday Guardian, are also encouraged by the media attention that the protests have got, both at the national and international levels and with the participants from other states, (as these leaders believe) joining in huge numbers, the protests will become much “bigger” than what they are now.

As per discussions among the strategists behind the protest, the farmers who work on the fields are “free” till March end, after which they will have to go back to harvest their Rabi crops. This gives the protesters more than two months’ time, which also coincides with the budget session of Parliament, to push the government to repeal the laws.

It is pertinent to mention that the protesting farm leaders have already made it clear that they will not accept anything except the repeal of the three laws, a stand which they made clear by refusing to accept and meet the members of the expert committee that was brought into existence by the CJI S.A. Bobde-led Supreme Court bench to resolve the standoff.

The government’s proposal of keeping the three laws on hold for 18 months, that came during the 11th round of discussion with the farmers, too, has been rejected by the farmers. As per Constitutional law, there is no provision to keep a law “on hold”.

The only viable way is that either the Supreme Court repeals the laws or the government does it by bringing a law in Parliament.