A senior BJP leader, who preferred to remain anonymous, claimed that “demontisation has had its impact on the agrarian sector”.
New Delhi: Alarm bells have begun ringing in the BJP with the farmers’ agitation spreading rapidly across several BJP-ruled.
With the farmers’ agitation, which began in Madhya Pradesh, now spreading to Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, saffron top leaders are holding parleys with the state chief ministers to assess the situation and find a way out.
Shiv Kumar Sharma, the face of the ongoing farmers’ agitation in Madhya Pradesh and a former leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, has gone on record with his threat. He and the protesting farmers, he said, will “lie down in corpse pose” across India to highlight their dema-nds on June 21, Yoga Day.
The high command is especially worried as farmers had voted for the party overwhlemingly in the last few Assembly elections and the 2014 general elections. While the BJP is fretting over the possible loss of its newly-found vote bank, the Centre is looking at options to implement the Swaminathan Commission report, especially the promise made in the BJP’s 2014 election manifesto — providing farmers a Minimum Support Price of cost plus 50 per cent.
The commission had suggested working out a system for food and nutrition security, sustainability in the farming system, enhancing quality and cost competitiveness of farm commodities and had recommend measures for credit and other marketing related steps. One of its key recommendations was to ensure a minimum of 50 per cent profit over the cost of production. A senior BJP leader, who preferred to remain anonymous, claimed that “demontisation has had its impact on the agrarian sector”. While pointing out that the cash economy has been severely hit after demonetisation, which this has severely affected the rural economy, he said, “A farmer needs cash for his daily survival and that’s not happening.”
The party which had been talking about “empowering poor” is now worried that if it “loses its grip on rural India, the going for the general elections could get somewhat tough.” The BJP’s chief ministers have been asked by the party high command to approach the leading faces of the farmers’ agitation and “address their grievances” at the earliest. In Haryana, the farmers who blocked the national highway on Friday have now threatened to march to Delhi in tractor trolleys if their demands for loan waiver and profitable prices are not met. In Chhattisgarh, farmers showing solidarity to the agitating farmers in Madhya Pradesh, demanded immediate implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations.
The Chhattisgarh Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh, an association of 21 organisations, had claimed that the state government has ignored the farmers’ plight for nearly three years and has been “insensitive” towards the rural population. Farmers in Rajasthan have also joined the protests, demanding loan waiver. Of course the RSS, through its mouthpiece, Organiser, has tried to blame the Congress for “fuelling” the farmers’ agitation.
“The facts and series of events in the farrago of agitations, in both the BJP-ruled states, indicate the political intent of fuelling,” the editorial in the latest issue stated.
With regard to the agitation in Madhya Pardesh it stated, “The agitation in high land hoarding areas, yielding cash crops, also allegedly linked with demonetisation and inability of rich farmers to recirculate their money through cooperative banks is dominated by the Congress-NCP leaders.”