Why farmers voted for BJP -Parth MN
Modi, with his brilliant communication skills along with the media at his disposal, managed to convince farmers to give him a longer rope
A senior farm leader had once told me in a regretful tone: “Whenever farmers are denied their rightful crop insurance, or they are harassed by banks for loan recovery, they come to us. We agitate, protest and resist the system’s bullying of farmers. But the same farmers never vote for us. They vote for the usual suspects that are never around when farmers are in crisis.”
The outcome of the 2019 general election has made me revisit that conversation. After the Narendra Modi-led BJP swept the polls with an even bigger mandate than in 2014, several people asked me how the farm movements over the past five years did not reflect in the results at all.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the incidents of agrarian clashes increased by 327 per cent from 2014 to 2015 – a year into Modi’s prime ministership. Nearly 630 cases were recorded in 2014, while in 2015, the number reached 2,683. The number of people arrested over the incidents rose from 3,540 to 10,353. The trend did not cease until the very end of Modi’s first term. To be honest, the previous governments were almost as apathetic in dealing with the farmers. More than 3 lakh farmers have killed themselves in India between 1995 and 2015. But Modi inherited the crisis, and did a remarkable job of intensifying it. Ashok Gulathi, Infosys Chair Professor for Agriculture at ICRIER, examined the agriculture growth in India under all the prime ministers since economic liberalisation. Under PV Narasimha Rao, it was 2.4 per cent, which grew to 2.9 during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime between 1999 and 2004. The 10 years of Manmohan Singh-government recorded 3.7 per cent agriculture growth. In the first four years of Modi, however, it was merely 1.9 per cent, lowest among all.
Moreover, people thought decisions such as demonetisation and beef ban, which directly had an adverse impact on farmers, would reflect in the outcome of the elections. However, May 23 told a different story.
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