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Worries of a Fresh Crop: Why the Spiralling Farmers’ Protests Are Making Punjab Politicians Jittery

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After the euphoria now the apprehension. As the farmers’ protests don’t present any speedy indicators of ending and the protesters have dug their heels in, many political events are in search of to profit from the motion.

One factor the farmers have made clear is that whereas politicians might attempt to milk the protests, they need to avoid the precise protest spots. And that is what’s worrying many political events, particularly the stakeholders in Punjab.

Cut to the Anna Hazare motion, which started in New Delhi in 2011 with a starvation strike in demand for the Jan Lokpal Bill to combat corruption. The authorities in energy and the ruling Congress have been in a pickle. The motion captured the minds of the folks, particularly the center class, and lots of youth joined in. The extra the Congress struggled to deal with it, the extra highly effective the motion started. And right here too politicians from mainstream events have been largely saved away.

While the Congress, being in energy, tried to barter, others like the BJP may solely look from a distance however with smiles on their faces. The decimation of the Congress and the UPA in the 2014 parliamentary polls was largely as a result of the Anna motion and the narrative it constructed of the UPA being corrupt and anti-people.

The similarity with the current farmers’ motion, nonetheless, ends right here. Firstly, it is largely restricted to north India and that too Punjab and Haryana. The Anna motion, whereas based mostly in Delhi, had captured the house in lots of different elements of the nation. There have been comparable actions in lots of southern and western areas. So far, aside from a few small teams, not many are supporting the farmers. But since the protests are near Delhi, it has captured the thoughts of the media and in addition the Centre.

The different essential issue is that until now the center class hasn’t been drawn by the farmers’ motion and protests. A senior MP from Punjab says, “It’s early days yet, but so far the middle class has not been pulled into this. The day they are, the politicians would have a reason to be worried even more.”

But so far as politicians, particularly Captain Amarinder Singh, is worried, they’ve a purpose to be apprehensive. The Akalis are nonetheless having to grapple with the notion of being a half of the NDA cupboard when the farm payments have been handed. Their exit from the authorities is seen as having come a little bit too late. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), many of whose leaders like Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia have been half of the India Against Corruption motion of Anna Hazare, could also be ready to see what flip the protests take. If the motion throws up an alternate management, then the occasion’s dream of capturing Punjab and Haryana might grow to be extra distant. And AAP is aware of very nicely what a motion, which is initially apolitical and with absence of political backing, might result in.

Now for Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh. His worries are past simply the motion. He has tried to undertake a center path. While attacking Haryana chief minister ML Khattar for not doing sufficient for the farmers, Captain has been at the forefront to combat for the farmers. But the truth stays that Punjab is a border state and there may be a fear that if issues exit of management it may imply severe safety points for the susceptible area.

The CM although is conscious that as of now the Akalis and AAP to a sure extent aren’t on a sturdy footing on this concern. And that is fertile floor for the emergence of a new chief or motion like in 2011. Which is why Captain can be goading some farmer unions to talk to the central authorities to interrupt the ice.

The fear is that the longer the deadlock stays, the possibilities of a new different rising grows. And that is one thing which none of the political events need. So the extra protracted the protests grow to be, the possibilities of the center class turning into embroiled and in addition it spreading to different states grow to be vital. Not many Punjab politicians would wish to see that materialise.

Another fear is a déjà vu second for the Congress from 2005 when the ‘kisaan-paani’ concern had hit the occasion. The current protests are largely of Jat Sikhs and other people from rural Punjab. With Hindus and concrete areas nonetheless staying away from the farmer protests, the Congress and Captain are nervous about polarisation which may work for the BJP with the city and Hindu votes going to the saffron occasion in the 2022 meeting polls.

So, for now, the protests are being watched nervously by the Punjab authorities and politicians.


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