When Modi govt came to power, farmer protests increased 700% -- the 3 bills are its result -Rajkamal Singh

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published Published on Sep 25, 2020   modified Modified on Sep 26, 2020

-ThePrint.in

Prior to 2014, Indian farmers mostly organised small protests at the state or local level. Modi govt’s inactions on its promises made farmers go national.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, Narendra Modi promised to increase farmers’ income. Yet after coming to power, his government did little towards this promise throughout its first tenure. Recently, however, the Modi government passed three “historic” bills purported to alleviate the woes of India’s farmers. The decades-long crisis faced by farmers has suddenly captured the interest of those at the helm of affairs to the extent that it has become a major point of contention between the BJP’s allies, even causing cabinet member Harsimrat Kaur Badal to resign. Why is it then that farmers’ issues have only now become part of the legislative agenda of political parties?

Data collected by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on unlawful assemblies suggests that there was an unprecedented rise in farmers’ mobilisation during the first two years of the Modi government. Between 2014 and 2016, the number of farmers’ protests rose from 628 to 4,837 — a whopping 700 per cent increase.

It is hard to believe now that the three bills reflect the BJP’s altruism towards farmers given its inaction all these years. A more reasonable conclusion is that it reflects their realisation that a growing national farmers’ movement can no longer be ignored.

Prior to 2014, farmers mostly organised small protests at the state or local level. Farmers’ identity and interests were subsumed within caste politics, making it difficult for them to mobilise on a large scale. How did this scattered and divided constituency develop into a national movement that the Modi government could not overlook?

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ThePrint.in, 25 September, 2020, https://theprint.in/opinion/modi-govt-saw-farmer-protests-increase-700-the-3-bills-are-its-result/509392/


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