The politicization of India's farmers' protests


12 Jun 2017

Farmers' protests a boost for the opposition's anti-BJP strategy

Farmers might be dying in violent protests in different states, but the timing has come as an opportune moment for opposition parties.

It helps that the presidential elections are fast approaching.

Now they are considering a 'Bharat Bandh' over the farmers' issue, and dates are expected to coincide with the Monsoon Session of Parliament after the election on July 17.


The farmer's protests across MP, TN, Maharashtra

The farmer's protests across MP, TN, Maharashtra

Following protests from farmers in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, farmers in MP have been demanding fair prices and farm loan waiver.

Demands have been aggressive after the BJP announced a Rs. 36,000cr loan waiver for UP farmers. Recently, Maharashtra announced a conditional waiver worth about Rs. 30,500cr.

Meanwhile, six farmers have died in MP in police firing on protesters.

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Opposition leaders working on their anti-BJP strategy

The Congress, CPM and JD(U) already held talks on the matter before Rahul Gandhi headed to Mandsaur and was detained.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar led an opposition meet to coordinate strategy for the election; afterwards, CPM's Sitaram Yechury and JD(U)'s Sharad Yadav met AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal to seek support.

Last week, Pawar met PM Narendra Modi to discuss the farmers' issue.


BJP blames opposition for exploiting farmers' anger

BJP blames opposition for exploiting farmers' anger

Some BJP leaders have blamed the opposition for politicizing the issue and allegedly attempting to cash in on farmers' issues.

Others have accused Hardik Patel, Patidar community leader, as they are the majority in Mandsaur, the heart of the protests.

Congress's Sachin Pilot is surprised: "When we were in power, (the BJP) blamed us. Now we are in Opposition, they still blame us?"

Meanwhile, farmers suffer amid political games

MP and Maharashtra are both undergoing an agrarian crisis. In MP, between 1 July- 15 November 2016, 531 farmers and between 16 November 2016 and 27 February 2017, 106 farmers had committed suicide. In Maharashtra, 639 farmers committed suicide between 1 January- 31 March 2017.

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