India’s Modi says committed to farmers’ welfare, protesting leaders call meeting

India's Modi says committed to farmers' welfare, protesting leaders call meeting

“Our government is committed to fulfil every resolve related to the welfare of our farmer brothers and sisters across the country,” Modi posted on X on Thursday, and referred to a cabinet decision on Wednesday to raise the floor price that mills must pay for sugar cane by 8 per cent.

The move does not benefit the protesting farmers who mostly grow rice and wheat but will help cane farmers in two other states which send the most lawmakers to parliament.

POLITICAL RISK

“How to better the life of the small farmer is our focus,” Modi later told a public meeting in his home state of Gujarat, without referring to the protests on the border of Punjab and Haryana states.

“We have given modern seeds to farmers … we are giving solar pumps to farmers … our effort is to get small farmers in villages to meet modern technology,” Modi said. “Besides making them producers, this is a mission to make small farmers entrepreneurs and exporters.”

Although the protesting farmers mostly belong to Punjab state, which has a limited footprint in parliament, analysts say Modi’s party cannot risk the campaign spreading to other states and angering more farmers, who are an influential bloc of voters, so close to the polls.