India’s farmer unions are set today to mark six months of political protests as negotiations with the government over controversial farm bills have stalled.
Organizers have called for additional demonstrations and black flags to be displayed in solidarity. Negotiations to end the protests have thus far produced few results. The government will not repeal the bills until a viable alternative is presented, while the unions are demanding a full repeal of the farm bills and a guarantee that the Minimum Support Price mechanism will be continued.
The aggrieved farmers are holding fast in their demands, hoping Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will relinquish his position as he did in 2015 over a land acquisition law. However, Modi has shown little interest in offering concessions beyond a temporary freeze on implementation. He appears intent on delivering on his campaign promise of modernizing the country’s agricultural sector.
Expect protests to continue in the short- to medium-term as both sides continue hostilities, increasing the chance that progress will only be achieved through the supreme court decision. Protracted protests will also erode public support for Modi at an inopportune time, after his BJP party suffered a significant electoral loss in West Bengal.
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Julian is a Research Analyst for The Daily Brief where he is a regular contributor. As a researcher and writer, Julian specializes in the political economy of East Asia and global macroeconomic developments.