Politicking farmers’ distress

Shiban  Khaibri
Not that the Kissan , whom we otherwise hold in esteem by calling   “Anna Datta” is not having problems, not again, as political analysts would we set at naught,  Governments  of all hues and ideologies as doing practically nothing let alone labeling them as “Kissanun key  Dushman” or anti farmers but what is it that  to every political party, out of power, farmers’ distress is  apparently being because of the “anti farmers policies” pursued by the dispensation whether primarily at the centre or in the states ? And when today’s opposition party is tomorrow’s ruling party or one of the coalition partners, the case is vice versa  and that harms the interests of whom , at large, is, for political expediency, brushed under the carpet.  Almost every politician, especially from the opposition parties, speaks in the highest forum of our democracy, the Parliament and at times outside too, about the “plight” of farmers. Some other leaders calling themselves as “non political” too are seen up in arms against the government for not addressing the farmers’ grievances.
Latest about the issue is about the  octogenarian social activist Anna Hazare  breaking his fast following assurances given by the Government about his demands hovering around the farmers, promised to be looked into like giving better prices to the farmers for their yield, pension to farmers above 60 years, Krishi Mooliya Aayog granted full autonomy or “Aazadi”, granting right to recall and reject the elected ones, to replace poll symbols with the photographs of the contesting candidates as the poll symbol for the benefit of the illiterate voters etc etc.  Side by side, demand was renewed for appointment of Lokpal and Lokayuktas at the centre and in the states, respectively. Davindra Fednavis , the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, had to do it again  by assuaging the feelings of the protesting activist by offering him a glass of Coconut water to end the fast as also convey the Governments’ , ie; Central and his state’s, about his “demands” having been considered favourably.
That the situation was brought dramatically under control and Hazare ended his fast must have sent waves of gloom and despair to those who would have wished it to become another whirlpool like situation for the Government after a few pebbles from here and there have been collected by them to be precisely aimed at the Government with an eye on 2019, not very far off. Anti BJP front is momentarily braving its conventional Achilles Heel of inherent contradictions while Sangh Parivar intellectuals like Arun Shorie and Yashwant Sinha too are okaying the dots laid down by Mamta Ji and “ignored, blinked and disregarded” Shotgun is not any “Khamoosh” . Anna Ji persuaded and successfully too, to withdraw the stir appears to have lessened the hard labored process of imparting some measure of wind in the sails of this Anti BJP front to “save democracy, secularism and the constitution” when issues crept up or manufactured like the dissent against the CJI and the alleged “bonhomie between the judiciary and the government”, CBSE two papers alleged leak, Data leak, etc could have been made to snowball into something looking too big.
These “democratic, liberal, secular and progressive” forces are not sore about Anna Hazare for not giving to the nation another “honest, revolutionary,   Gandhian simple and secular” Kejriwal out of the recent short stunt of his Satyagrah, contrary to what he had done as an after effect of  his maiden one during the penultimate days of the UPA2 but would have wished him to stay on there like a night watchman cricket player who clings to the crease just to keep the “rival” team on tenterhooks.
And how much are the sympathizers of our farming community physically and emotionally pined, can be seen with a small tiny tip of the proverbial iceberg of acquiring (read snatching) land from poor farmers by Congress Government in Manesar, Lakhounla and Naurangpur for setting up a township in Haryana.  Here  farmers were coerced to resort to distress sale to enable Hooda Government to  acquire  as much as 400 acres at a throwaway price of Rs.100 crore against a (the then) market price of Rs.1600 crore . The Honb’le Supreme Court early last month severely indicted Bhupinder Singh Hooda led Congress Government for an Rs.1500 crore land acquisition fraud. It may be recalled that the same Congress party vehemently aggressively campaigned against the Land Acquisition Bill brought in by the Modi Government to build infrastructural support for an economic turnaround with focus on rural sector.
Elections are won and lost but the tremors of Tripura loss were felt not only by the Communists, the Congress etc but by the Trinmolians too. Communists avenged it somewhere far away from Tripura, in Maharashtra. Within no time, red caps donning and hammer sickle flags holding swarms of “farmers” chanting “revolutionary slogans” marching from Nasik and other places in Maharashtra, converged and camped near the seat of state power in Mumbai to highlight their “problems”  . The long march of 200  km  of thousands of people was organized in a missionary manner for an apparent blitzkrieg against the “anti farmer” Fadnavis government. All liberal, democratic, progressive and secular opposition eyes were glued to watch how much dwarf in size and strength, the State Government would look in the face of massive what was projected as “unrest”. It is not easy to comprehend as to how farm distress surfaced not earlier as it was not “there” and how under advancing saffron rule, it got generated and took deep roots. Even hardened stalwarts in political khel tamasha would fall flat looking to the massive challenge of pacifying and sending them back from where they were motivated to come on the roads. And the formidable soft speaking Fadnavis tackled the situation like a man of dexterity and a leader of the masses.  Those who had organized the movement with demands like forest land rights were chagrined beyond belief.
A few questions need answers. Were these people really farmers as they were made out to be and how many of us know the reality? Did they possess their own land and whether they fell within the ambit of loan waiver schemes? Would they again fall in the trap of those who daydream a revolution to capture Delhi and establish Communist rule? Would they or others believe that the Governments were anti farmer as they were treated well, provided medical and other facilities as also some trains were arranged exclusively for their return journey? Is the cause of farmers to better their lot not being exploited to the hilt like this and chorusing “farmers are committing suicide”, “farmers are restive and desperate”, “farmers are being crushed”?
Our farmers are undoubtedly facing problems like there is farm unemployment since holding per family on an average is not adequate to sustain the family. There are low yields. There is problem of non availability of water for irrigation. The input cost is at times at par with the gross revenue leaving little or no surplus. The bank credit is available without hassles but repayments are not there .Bank loans, very often are (mis)used for ends other than farming. There is new malaise, that of climatic change. The politicians in most of the cases, especially in opposition are ready with pain killers rather disease cure, the readymade loan waiving and increasing higher support price. These measures are called mere palliatives but they are concerned not with the farmers in as much keep on using them to generate mistrust and gain access to the power. The question is, but how long?


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