The BJP may never miss an opportunity to appropriate Gandhi ji’s teachings and values but when it comes to actions, the government takes no time in exposing their hypocrisy by betraying Gandhi ji’s message with its barbaric actions. The response to the farmers’ march to the capital yesterday was glaring in its irony as thousands of protesting farmers were hit with water cannons and tear gas while attempting to enter the capital to make their protest against the government heard on October 2. The occasion of Gandhi Jayanti and its message of peaceful protest was lost on the government as policemen placed barricades to stop the rally, and proceeded to push the farmers back by employ-ing methods of mob dispersal.
Read this story in Hindi
Across the country, the anger is visibly palpable amongst the farmer community. From Maharashtra and Gujarat to Rajasthan and Delhi, farmers have been forced to organise and demonstrate in a desperate attempt to make their voices heard. Their grievances have however fallen on deaf ears which is evident from the drastic rise in farmer agitations and protests. The NCRB data on reported farmer protests shows that the number has increased from 628 in 2014 to 2683 in 2015 and 4837 in 2016. Not only have their concerns been completely relegated to the background, the government has not hesitated to use force and violence to stifle the voice of this community. The apathy is aptly reflected in the Union Minister for Agriculture’s statement where he mocked the protests by term-ing them as ‘unusual deeds to appear in the media’.
As the PM continues to beat his own drums, reports show that every electoral promise by the BJP including doubling farmers’ income, higher MSP and agricultural reforms have all miserably failed. According to a survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) in the 70th round, only 6% of farmers are able to sell their produce at MSP. Data released by the Ministry of Agricul-ture and Farmers’ Welfare reveal that prices have been consistently lower than MSP for most crops and agricultural growth is at an all time low. This is in sharp contrast to the record under UPA II where the average annual MSP growth rate was 19.3% as opposed to 3.6% under the NDA gov-ernment. Even the interim promises and agreements arrived at in the aftermath of the protests have turned out to be nothing but electoral gimmicks, aimed at earning immediate brownie points. Assur-ances of farmer loan waivers lack any kind of follow up action while public sector banks have writ-ten off Rs 3,17,000 crore worth of loans for corporates.
The BJP government, in the last 4 years, have shown ample number of times that it is a government of the rich and wealthy corporates and industrialists, not of the farmers and workers. As farmers’ distress shows no sign of amelioration, it is clear that this government has reduced ‘jai jawan jai kisaan’ to mere lip service.