Farmer Protesters Gain Upper Hand: Centre Offers To Suspend Laws For 1.5 Years, Unions To Take Final CallPrime Minister Narendra Modi with Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar

The Narendra Modi led central government appears to have blinked first over the farmer protests by offering to suspend the reforms by one and a half years. The protesting farmer unions have said that they will revert back tomorrow (21 January) after internal consultations.

"During discussions, we said that govt is ready to put on hold the farm laws for one or one and half year. I am happy that farmer unions have taken this very seriously and said that they would consider it tomorrow and convey their decision on 22 January", Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has been quoted as saying.

Tomar also claimed that the talks are progressing in the right direction and a resolution is expected on 22 January - when the next meeting is scheduled.

This development comes ahead of a threat by farmer union leaders to carry out a massive tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day. The farmers have been protesting on Delhi's borders since November by blocking key roads, thereby causing a huge inconvenience for the common public.

The historic farm laws are considered landmark reforms which empower farmers to break free from the shackles of APMC mandis and allow them to directly deal with private players, to ensure a better price for their produce.

This has resulted in widespread protests in Punjab, which people allege are triggered by middlemen who are expected to be at a disadvantage under these new laws. The protests have also been supported by pro-Khalistani elements.

Incidentally, scores of farmer unions and farmers from across the country have come out in support of the farm laws but it appears that the street protests against the laws have now caused the government to relent.

The Supreme Court has already placed a stay on the implementation of the farm laws.

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