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 story : India’s Farmers Have Forced Modi to Retreat But He Will Be Back, With More Religious Polarization #WorldNEWS Indias Hindu nationalist prime minister isn’t given to apologizing. For years,

@newsMNC 9 Days ago

Posted in: #WorldNEWS

India’s Farmers Have Forced Modi to Retreat But He Will Be Back, With More Religious Polarization #WorldNEWS
Indias Hindu nationalist prime minister isn’t given to apologizing. For years, hoping for some sign of remorse, the media kept asking Narendra Modi if he ever regretted the 2002 pogrom against Muslims in the western state of Gujarat, when he was its top elected official. The closest they ever got was when he said—more than a decade later—that it was natural for anybody to feel bad if a “puppy comes under the wheels” of a car.
So, when Modi made an apology of sorts on Nov. 19, promising to repeal agrarian laws that had triggered an unprecedented, year-long farmers’ protest, it was met with joy, surprise and skepticism in equal measure. While the opposition can’t stop exulting at Modi’s about face, it is also warning that it could be a ploy to revive the laws later. Pointedly, Modi said sorry for failing to persuade the farmers of the necessity of the laws, not for the measures themselves.
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The farmers, whose protests attracted global attention, have been celebrating the climbdown. But they are not calling off the protests until the formal repeal of the three contentious farm laws—which were, in essence, a bid to replace the government-controlled agrarian sector with the free market—and the introduction of guaranteed minimum prices for crops. That they won’t take the prime minister at his word is a function of the level of animosity between the two sides.
Read More: Indias Media Is Also Responsible for the Countrys COVID-19 Crisis
Modi’s government has, for months, been trying to defame the protesters as terrorists and stooges of China and Pakistan, turned Delhi into a fortress to prevent them from entering the capital, and tried using force to break up the agitation. More than 700 farmers died picketing Delhi’s outskirts in the course of the year, which the protesters squarely blame on Modi’s railroading of the laws through Parliament without due process, and his stubbornness in sticking with them.
For a man whose followers believe he is a redeemer who knows how to make India right, it isnt easy admitting that he got something this important this wrong. But hubris is the least of his problems right now. Modi faces a difficult political test in about three months, when several states go to polls, and his mea culpa is a desperate strategic retreat to win a bigger war for his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It exposes his weakness, to be sure, but the potential benefits of his climbdown may far outweigh the momentary humiliation.

Sakib Ali/Hindustan Times via Getty Images Farmers celebrate after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the repeal of new farm laws, on Nov.


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