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Farm laws: Opposition parties fish in troubled waters
The BJP which had shown great alacrity in implementing its political agenda like abrogation of Article 370 and laying of foundation stone for Ram Mandir soon after coming to office for the second term in 2019, now seems to be facing a real challenge for the first time since it came to power in 2014
The BJP which had shown great alacrity in implementing its political agenda like abrogation of Article 370 and laying of foundation stone for Ram Mandir soon after coming to office for the second term in 2019, now seems to be facing a real challenge for the first time since it came to power in 2014.
Though initially one thought that the farmers' agitation would soon fizzle out, the farmers seem to be determined not to move even a step backward and want the Centre to repeal the three farm laws which were passed by the Parliament. Though it has made several efforts to hold talks with the agitating farmers, so far it failed to convince them. On the 14th day of the agitation, the Centre proposed to give a "written assurance" that the existing Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime for procurement will continue.
In a draft proposal sent to 13 agitating farmers' unions, the Centre has also assured registration of all private mandis to strengthen AMPC. It said, the government is ready to consider with an open heart the objections which farmers have on the new farm laws. "The government has tried to address the concerns of farmers with an open heart and with respect for the farming community of the country.
The government appeals kisan unions to end their agitation," it said. But even this assurance a day after intervention by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah failed to break the deadlock. So far what is appreciable is that the farmers have welcomed the support from all parties but have not allowed any party to take the lead. That is really a positive sign. Whatever the outcome finally be, it should be between farmers and the government. But the unfortunate aspect in India is that the Opposition parties which are fast losing their steam and importance and have distanced themselves from the people are trying to use this issue for political gains.
The way many State governments organised bandh in their respective regions on Tuesday was a clear indication that they wanted to utilise this more as a stick to beat the BJP rather than resolve the crisis. The State governments could have put pressure on the Centre to convene a meeting of all Chief Ministers to discuss the issue and could have given recommendations on what should be done to see that the farmers issue is resolved. That should have set a good example of true federalism, but no party is interested in it.
No non-BJP ruled State government will take such initiative as they want to get political mileage and are least bothered about the welfare of farmers. We have seen how during every election, every party makes promises which includes appeasement tactics, caste and class benefits.
These benefits are often insignificant rewards that are temporary solutions to the farmers' problems. Maybe farmers have become simply a vote bank that must pick between two parties. Farmers continues to get fleeced by middlemen and no government wants to do away with them. The so called "Never Before" reforms each government claims to be introducing to make farming a profitable profession are only to institutionalise the systems which exploit the real sons of soil.