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Explained: How will repeal of farm laws impact UP, Punjab polls?

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New Delhi, Nov 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to repeal the contentious farm laws is not only a victory to protesting farmers but will leave a cascading effect on the upcoming polls in the crucial states Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

PTI file photo

In his address to the nation, PM Modi said that the government has decided to repeal the three farm laws, which were at the centre of protests by farmers for the past year, and appealed to the protesting farmers to return home.

The prime minister said the three farm laws were brought only for the betterment of farmers, but they "failed to convince some farmers.

Soon after the prime minister announced the repeal of farm laws, people from various quarters dubbed it a political stunt by the BJP government to retain power in UP and Punjab.

In fact, the repeal of farm is a shot in the arm for the saffron party as the party is trying to infuse a fresh momentum in its political drive, especially in efforts to retain its dominance in Uttar Pradesh. In Punjab, the BJP aims to form the government with the support of Sikhs.

Farm law repeal impact on Punjab polls

So, the prime minister chose Guru Nanak Jayanti, one of the holiest days in the Sikh calender to make the announcement. He quoted their last Guru Gobind Singh to stress on his intention to do good work and referred to the happy development of the reopening of Kartarpur Sahib corridor are a pointer to this.

With the cancellation of farm laws, the BJP hopes to recover lost ground in Punjab with its likely new partner Singh. Captain Amarinder, who has floated a new party Punjab Lok Congress has repeatedly stressed on resolution of the farm issues for seat-sharing with the BJP in the state.

A new political equation is on the cards after the BJP lost its traditional ally Shiromani Akali Dal following the farm bills' passage in Parliament in September last year and was facing increasing marginalisation in the Sikh-majority state of Punjab.

Opportunity for Amarinder Singh?

The repeal of farm laws may even prove to be a fresh opportunity for 'humiliated' Amarinder Singh to revive his political career.

Amarinder Singh on Friday thanked Modi for the decision on farm laws.

"Huge huge day for all of us in Punjab. I'd been pursuing the matter with Centre for last 1+ year & had met @narendramodi ji, @AmitShah ji requesting them to heed the voice of our annadaatas. Really happy they've heard farmers & understood our concerns," the former CM's media aide quoted him as saying.

"This has not only come as huge relief to farmers but has paved way for Punjab's progress. I look forward to working closely with @BJP4India led centre for development of Kisans. I promise Punjab's people I won't rest till I wipe every tear from every single eye," Singh said.

The elections for the 117-member Vidhan Sabha are expected to witness a multi-cornered contest among the ruling Congress, the SAD-BSP alliance, the Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP.

Farm law impact on Uttar Pradesh polls

The BJP's stakes are the high in Uttar Pradesh where it had registered resounding victory with 312 seats in the 403-member assembly in 2017.

With sections of Jats seemingly angry with the BJP and even several Jat leaders of the party admitting to slide in their fortunes in the western UP, where the community is concentrated, the region was seen as a roadblock in its efforts to repeat its 2017 show in the upcoming polls, more so as the Samajwadi Party had joined hands with the Rashtriya Lok Dal to pose a united challenge.

Besides, the BJP is also facing the issue of the sugarcane farmers, who are upset over relatively low returns on their produce.

The saffron party is also facing backlash over the Lakhipur Kheri incident in Uttar Pradesh, which took the lives of eight people, including four farmers.

The opposition is up in the arms against the BJP over the alleged role of Union minister Ajay Misra 'Teni', whose son remains under arrest in the case.

The move to scrap law will go a long way in placating the community, which had supported the BJP in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls besides the 2017 assembly polls.

It may also help spoil the opposition's pitch for forging a social alliance of Jats and several smaller communities with Muslims, another numerically strong group in the region, against the saffron party.

Not a political move: BJP cites recent electoral win

Rubbishing opposition claims that the farm law repeal was a political stunt, the BJP cited multiple election wins that the party has registered since the agri laws were passed 14 months ago.

The saffron party has won a number of electoral contests, including the Assam assembly elections, and by-elections and local polls in different parts of the country, after the passage of the farm laws.

2022 will also see polls in Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur but these protests have had little impact in other states.

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