By Arun Srivastava
Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), spearheading the farmers’ movement has made two significant moves, first, to give a call to the people of Haryana to force their legislators to vote against the M.L. Khattar government in the March 10 vote of no confidence and second, has appealed to farmers in all election-bound states to vote against the BJP and its allies to ensure their defeat.
These twin moves of the SKM ought to be not presumed as politicisation of the farmers’ movement but as the first significant step towards intervention in the political system of the country. For the second move it has chosen Kolkata as the first rally pit stop. West Bengal has been the most politically conscious state in the country and SKM’s intervention in the state would have wider ramification across the country.
The political importance of Bengal for BJP could be made out from the simple fact that the party has put the prestige of the prime minister and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at stake. The BJP and the prime minister have been designing their strategy in consultation with Bhagwat. This is also for the first time that the RSS has drafted senior functionaries in the state to guide the state unit. Apparently the BJP and Modi are being accused of poaching of the TMC leaders and legislators, the fact is it is the integral part of the RSS strategy to ensure the victory of the BJP.
It is amazing to watch that the entire saffron brigade from RSS, BJP to all the 24 frontal organisations of saffron brigade have launched a menacing fight against single lady Mamata Banerjee. Worst nature of vilification campaign has been launched. Even the prime minister of India has been flinging jibes at her.
A hawker selling child wear on the pavement rightly sought to know whether the Bengali farmers would be able to understand the language of the farmer leaders from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. But he was quick to reply, it is body language, the thrust of the message, the concern of the million of toiling farmers that would have impact on the psyche of the farmers of Bengal which any political party cannot do.
The call of the SKM to citizens of Haryana to approach their legislators, especially from BJP and JJP, and ensure that the anti-farmer state government of BJP and its allies is defeated in this no-confidence motion, reminds the call of the JP during the Bihar movement to the armed forces to protest. Victory of BJP in Bengal election will witness emergence of a new kind of aggressive form of politics. With the fall of the last bastion of opposition resistance, the BJP would not maintain the façade of morality and probity in public life and accountability. The BJP and the Modi government would turn more ruthless.
The farmers are not only fighting for themselves but for the entire poor and middle class who will suffer the dangerous consequences of these laws. India is already witnessing the dark phase of the democracy. The country has already entered a dangerous arena. People are not aware how this regime will behave in future. The SKM is preparing to try and inflict what farmers’ leader Yogendra Yadav described as “vote ki chot” (hurt with votes) on the BJP and its allies in the five poll-set states of Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
Veteran farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said: “We will appeal to all farmers not to vote for the BJP and its allies. We will not support any party or campaign for any party, nor will we tell farmers who they should vote for. All we will do is appeal to them not to vote for those who brought the farm laws and have unleashed repression on farmers, and try best to vote in a manner that will ensure the defeat of the BJP and its allies.”
Farm leaders will be sent to all the five states to address at least one rally organised by their local partners to mobilise opinion. The first such rally will be held in Calcutta on March 12. The farmers have also decided to firm up the solidarity with workers by joining the trade union call for protest action on March 15 against corporatisation and privatisation. Many of the central trade unions have been backing the farmers’ protests.
Dr Darshan Pal, president of the Punjab chapter of the Krantikari Kisan Union and a member of SKM said, “We will take part at a convention in Kolkata on March 12 where we’ll apprise local food growers on the anti-farmer face of the BJP and ask them to teach this ‘Kisan Virodhi’ party a lesson in the upcoming polls.” AvikSaha, secretary, All India Kisan Sangrash Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), said, “We’ll appoint ‘Kisan Doots’ (emissaries) at the March 12 convention and they will take turns to reaching Bengal’s villages and distributing pamphlets highlighting the sore points in the farm laws and their consequences for the agricultural community in layman’s language.”
The primary task before the SKM is to blunt the politics of communal divide. Farmers are farmers, irrespective of the fact whether they belong to Muslim or Hindu community. The SKM will ask the voters to be cautious of the divisive policy’s of the BJP. Upsurge of the farmers’ power has been unprecedented. The farmers are rising as never before in India. They were meant to be encircled by the government, but they are encircling the government rapidly.
It is now up to the political parties to show whether they are capable of rising to the occasion and going beyond petty electoral seat calculations to teach their makers with the help of this farmers’ uprising. Significantly two days back Rakesh Tikait stressed on farmers’ unity, which “is the only weapon to vanquish a stubborn BJP government at the Centre for repealing the three black agriculture laws.” He even expressed apprehension that Union government may resort to coercive mechanism. He said “Its “silence” for the past few days indicates that it is planning some steps against the farmers’ agitation over newly enacted agriculture laws.”
Apart from resorting to direct intervention in the political system through giving the call not to vote for BJP, the SKM is also planning to gherao the Parliament. Tikait said: ‘Farmers will gherao Parliament if govt doesn’t repeal agri laws. This time, 40 lakh tractors will be there, instead of four lakh tractors.” The protesting farmers would plough the parks near India Gate and grow crops there. Leaders of the United Front will decide the date to gherao the Parliament.
Tikait said farmers are openly challenging the government that if it does not repeal all three contentious agricultural laws and does not implement the MSP, then the farmers of the country will also demolish the godowns of big companies.
Narendra Modi and his far-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), does not take kindly to criticism, whether it comes from the citizens or from global celebrities. Already his lieutenants and supporters like Yogi Adityanath have launched a crusade to malign and denigrate the basic ethos of the Constitution. While Modi has made the media subservient, he has also made the opposition a passive spectator to his repressive mode of governance. In this backdrop the emergence of farmers resistance to the ruling party and the RSS is a big sign of hope.. (IPA Service)