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Middleman matters: Behind Indian protests against Modi farm reforms

INDIA – Undeterred by the harsh winter of India’s capital, its toxic air and surging coronavirus cases, Sukhbinder Singh is among tens of thousands of farmers camped out in protest on the city’s outskirts, along with tractors, trailers, SUVs and food trucks. The farmers say they have enough flour, potatoes and other provisions to stay put for six months if Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not meet their demand: a repeal of new laws that he has described as the biggest farm reforms in the country in decades and trade analysts have hailed as a booster shot for the world food market. The sea of unmasked people at the heavily barricaded protest site on the main highway into northern Delhi is the biggest challenge Modi has faced from India’s politically powerful farmers since he took office six years ago, and is a chink in his otherwise immense personal popularity.

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