The Modi government has been engaging with various farm unions who have monopolised agriculture in states like Punjab and Haryana despite their exhibition of crude anti-government rhetoric of late. In fact, the Modi government has yielded more than what was expected of it when it comes to meeting the demands of the farmers. Whether it be bringing in amendments to the new farm laws or scrapping of the stubble burning ordinance, the centre has gone out of its way to bring about a resolution to the ongoing farmers’ protests, under which the blockade of major national highways in the upcoming days is now being threatened.
Mindlessly having rejected the large-hearted proposals of the government due to their maximalist ego, the farm unions are now caught in a tough spot. Already, the call for a Bharat Bandh on December 8 was a colossal failure, with the common public going about their daily business as usual. There are also early signs of a divide emerging between the various farm unions. By rejecting the rather luxurious proposals of the Central government, the farmer unions may have very well bitten more than they can chew. By losing out on a good bargain, the farmer unions have laced the path ahead with sharp thorns for themselves.
With the Rabi cropping season in full swing already in northern states, particularly Punjab, the farmer unions will find it increasingly difficult to hold on to the numbers which they have been able to amass at Delhi’s borders up till now. The egoism of the unionists will ultimately result in the legitimate farmers realising that under their aegis, a good deal was rejected, leading to tremendous loss of time, energy and resources of the farmers. One can expect the number of protestors to begin dwindling soon.
Meanwhile, even as the genuine farmers realise that they are being used for political purposes, vested interest groups, anti-government crusaders and the usual suspects like Yogendra Yadav are making it a point to stretch the agitation beyond its natural longevity and create a Shaheen Bagh-like situation in Delhi all over again. The government, with the daily weakening of the protests, is cementing further on its position of not repealing the three revolutionary farm laws. The government is also increasingly realising the futility of engaging with the farm unionists, who are unwilling to meet the Centre anywhere near the middle path.
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It almost seems like the unions are less interested in seeking redressal of the farmers’ apprehensions about the new laws, and are more dedicated to laying siege on Delhi in a manner which was last attempted by Shaheen Bagh activists. The involvement of political forces like Yogendra Yadav in the protests only stamps authority over such assertions.
Already, many political parties too, are aiming to score brownie points by firing from the shoulders of farmers. For those whose only aim is to bring down the PM Modi-led government, the protests have come as a boon to attempt resuscitation of dead political fortunes. The farm unions have announced that they will be intensifying their agitation, and blocking national highways in the coming days. The Centre must make it a point to ensure that such plans are foiled and that the common public is not hassled due to the incapacity of a few motivated unions to understand the tremendous potential of the new farm laws to revolutionise India’s agriculture sector.
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