Experts call agitation ‘enriching of democracy’, but also term victory as one ‘forced due to political compulsions’
NEW DELHI (TIP): As the leaders of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Thursday, December 9, formally announced the ending of their year-long agitation at the Delhi borders in the backdrop of now-repealed farm laws and the Centre’s outreach, according to some agriculture experts the story may be far from over yet. They called the farmers’ victory “reclaiming of democracy” and one that exposed “inability/limitations of RSS-BJP strategy/instrument to counter agitation/movement without any religious tinge”. However, it was also one resulting from “pure political compulsions of the ruling BJP”, they said. “Yes, it is a glorious victory, but forced due to UP/Punjab/Uttarakhand elections. The Narendra Modi Government conceded to farmers’ demands because of the fear of losing in 2022 Assembly elections,” said agriculture expert from Western UP Sudhir Panwar, who is also associated with the Samajwadi Party.
“The compelling reasons for repeal was possibility of novel political alliance in Punjab and the growing support of farmers for political alliance of Akhilesh Yadav and Jayant Chaudhary (in Western UP),” he added.
Also pointing to the words used by the Prime Minister while announcing the decision to rollback, Panwar called it a “clear indication of future”. “The PM said he felt sorry over his failure in convincing a small number of farmers of the benefits of new agriculture laws. It was not an apology on the manner of implementation and implications of laws. In future the BJP government can always claim that farmers are now convinced on benefits of repealed laws,” he said.
Amid speculations of divisions among farmer groups, it seems BKU leader Rakesh Tikait, who infused life into the agitation with his emotional outbreak after the January-26 Republic Day violence, was not in favor of ending the agitation till the time there was a legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price.
Panwar also said “farmers were divided”. While repeal was the main demand of those from Haryana and Punjab, for the rest of the country it was the legal guarantee of the MSP. “Rakesh Tikait was not as happy as farmer leaders of Punjab and Haryana. It also shows the dominant role of farmers from Punjab and Haryana in the agitation and subsidiary role of those from other regions,” he said. While there was “no real gain for farmers even after year-long agitation as issue related with electricity, burning of agriculture waste and legal guarantee of MSP handed over to committee”, the successful agitation exposed the inability/limitations of RSS-BJP strategy/instrument to counter agitation/movement without giving religious hues, Panwar said. “The BJP used all known strategies such as calling farmers anti-national, Khalistani, secessionist, anti-Hindu, etc. January 26 incidents were used to malign the image of farmer leaders and their organizations. The success of the agitation was clear records of its leaders and sustained food supply and shelters at agitation sites,” he said.
(With inputs from Tribune, India)