Farmers' stir: playing the ego-game

Farmers stir: playing the ego-game
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Farmers' stir: playing the ego-game

Highlights

The Bharat Bandh call given by Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Monday to mark the first anniversary of the passage of the Bill surrounding the three controversial agri laws, has had a predictable impact on Delhi, Haryana and Punjab and a partial impact in the adjoining States.

The Bharat Bandh call given by Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Monday to mark the first anniversary of the passage of the Bill surrounding the three controversial agri laws, has had a predictable impact on Delhi, Haryana and Punjab and a partial impact in the adjoining States. The traffic was badly affected in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (in parts) and Delhi as major highways were blocked by protesting farmers.

Opposition parties, including, Congress, Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Telugu Desam Party, YSR Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal, CPI(M) have extended support to the Bharat Bandh call given by farmer unions. Hundreds of farmers, especially from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh have been protesting at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders against the three agri laws since November 2020. The agitating kisans are demanding repeal of The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, which were passed in September 2020. There seems to be no way out for the farmers as the government is firm in its refusal to entertain conditional talks.

There is little to indicate that the Centre agrees to the condition as it sees a political conspiracy to the agitation pointing to Rakesh Tikait's political connections and also the campaign of the farmer unions against the BJP. The stalemate could only be expected to stretch further going by the protest calendar of the farmers (or as Rakesh Tikait says) as the agenda gets wider and more political demands of the Opposition keep permeating into the agitation. Already, the protest against the farm laws has encompassed the Electricity Bill and the monetisation policy of the government. The likes of Rakesh Tikait should realise that when the farmers unions keep including or raising additional demands, naturally the space for the agri laws diminishes. This would make the movement sound more and more political to the delight of the BJP. That is a pitfall that the BJP is anticipating.

The fear of the protests getting political are real. Several States including UP and Punjab are going in for the Assembly elections in a few months. The BJP led Centre is ready for the political slugfest. The BJP watchers know full well the capacity of the party leadership to turn adversity into an advantage. As the talk becomes more acerbic in the heat of electioneering, it also tends to attain political overtones. Can't there be a wiser approach to the issue on both sides? Yes. There could be, provided both the parties to the dispute come together to talk.

A meeting ground should be explored for the common good of the nation. The ego factor, if any, should be understood by all the players and the same should be kept aside. The ego is what keeps us locked away in our minds in an endless cycle of chatter, separated from the present moment. When we operate from ego we are generally obsessed with right and wrong, blame and shame. We are not acting from a reasonable, logical place, but a judgemental place. Afterall, this is our country, our government and our people. Right?

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