“Going to Restart the Farmers’ Protest”

By Sonal Nain, 22 Mar 2022

According to a panel of experts appointed by the Supreme Court, 86 percent of farmers backed the three farm laws that prompted major protests for over 15 months and claimed over 600 lives. The panel felt that repealing the farm laws was unfair to the silent majority. However, the panel’s report doesn’t include the responses of farmers who protested at Delhi borders.

The Lokniti-CSDS survey shows that there is strong support for the farmer protest movement, with 80 percent in Punjab and close to 50 percent in Uttar Pradesh. And the decision by PM Modi to repeal the three farm laws was supported by 46 percent of voters, with only 11 percent opposed.

Avik Saha, National Convenor of Swaraj Abhiyan’s Jai Kisan Andolan, expresses dissatisfaction with the Uttar Pradesh election results and claims that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) demands have yet to be met, implying that farmers’ protests will resume.

He stated that despite the farmers’ protest movement, the Uttar Pradesh election results were disappointing, “The MSP was the primary issue in the majority of UP, which was not resolved during the protests. The protest did not reach a conclusion that would have allowed an MSP law to be passed. As a result, farmers in UP who had never seen MSPs before, particularly in central and eastern UP, were curious to see what would happen and instead of voting for the opposition, people voted for BJP.”

“However, the farmer’s issues continue to rage because it is about the income security of life and livelihood,” he asserted.

At the end of the protest, Mr Modi promised to form a committee to look into the MSP demand, “That is the outstanding and pending demand, and it appears that the government is not interested in meeting it. Therefore, the new protest will start again.”

However, he concurred that the results show that we must have made mistakes in our articulation, even though, electorally, people were very clear that BJP was anti-farmer and ensured that the BJP lost, “People instinctively know what they should do, and this is the fulcrum of democracy; anyone who challenges this is wrong. 

He further added that with rising inflation, the pain is so severe in the country that Mr Modi is providing all of the ingredients for the protest to build up and bloom this time, “100 percent of farmers in this country, like every Indian in any occupation, want assurance of income.”