Farmers at the Delhi borders have said that say their protests will continue till the formal cancellation of the three contentious farm laws, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday. They have also demanded a law on minimum support prices, and withdrawal of the police cases filed against many of them over the last year.
The official withdrawal of the laws can take place only when parliament’s Winter Session that will begin at the end of this month.
“We have discussed the repeal of farm laws. After this, some decisions were taken. The pre-decided programmes of the SKM (Sanyukta Kisam Morcha, an umbrella body of farmers) will continue as it is,” said Balbir Singh Rajewal at the Delhi-Haryana border in Singhu.
The programmes include a farmers’ meet in Lucknow on November 22, gatherings at all borders on November 26 and a march to parliament on November 29, he added.
The farmers also said they will write an open letter to the Prime Minister listing their demands.
In a U-turn on Friday, PM Modi said the three contentious farm laws will be cancelled.
“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,” he said in an address to the nation.
The move is expected to bring the BJP some significant political spin-offs. Two of the states where the protest has been sharpest, are due for assembly elections early next year – Punjab where its fortunes have taken a downturn and the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.
Since November last year, thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have been camping outside Delhi, demanding that the Centre cancel the laws.
It has affected campaigning in the poll-bound states, with angry protesters barring entry of leaders and disrupting meetings.