Modi Vows Farmer Welfare, But Protests Persist in India

Modi Vows Farmer Welfare, But Protests Persist in India

Feb 22 India Standard

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made public statements on Thursday addressing the ongoing farmer protests, emphasizing his government's commitment to their welfare while facing pressure ahead of upcoming elections. However, his words seem to fall short of appeasing the protestors' demands, as they announce plans for intensified action.

Farmers' Demands and Protests

Thousands of farmers, primarily from Punjab, have been protesting for over a week, seeking legally mandated higher prices for their crops, among other demands. Their "Delhi Chalo" campaign aiming to reach the capital has been stalled by authorities, leading to clashes and tense negotiations. Following the death of a young protester, farmers temporarily paused their march but vowed to continue their fight through other means.

Modi's Response and Political Implications

Modi's public address acknowledged the government's focus on farmers' welfare, highlighting initiatives like increased sugar cane floor prices. However, this announcement doesn't directly address the concerns of the protesting farmers who grow different crops. Analysts warn that with elections approaching, Modi cannot afford to ignore the issue, especially considering the influential voting bloc farmers represent. His handling of the previous farmer protests, which led to the repeal of farm reforms, serves as a reminder of their potential political impact.

Escalating Protests and Social Media Crackdown

Despite Modi's statements, farmers' leaders announced a series of "mega programmes" across the country starting Friday, including a tractor rally and a public meeting in Delhi. Additionally, social media platform X confirmed removing accounts and posts linked to the protests based on a government order, raising concerns about freedom of expression.

Unresolved Conflict and Uncertain Future

While Modi assures commitment to farmers' well being, the current situation remains tense. The farmers' decision to continue their protests and the government's social media restrictions highlight the unresolved conflict. The coming days and weeks will be crucial in determining whether dialogue and concessions can bridge the gap or further escalate the situation.


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