- Will Punjab be repeated in other states also?
The three month long farmer’s protest over three controversial farm laws enacted by union government has taken its first political toll in Punjab where BJP was wiped out in local body election and all but one seat was won by Congress. Similarly in North Eastern state of Manipur Congress won all the 19 seats. Though practically farmers all over the country are restive because of these laws which may open the flood gate for corporatization of agriculture that will ultimately risk our food security but Punjab Haryana and western UP are most affected of this protest. Kisan Mahapanchayat a conglomeration of farmer’s union which is spearheading the movement has announced to spread their protest in Bengal and Assam also where state assembly elections are going to be held in near future. Since Kisan Mahasabha lead by communist leader Hannan Mollah is a major partner of this mahapanchayat it is expected that it will have very good effect there. Since BJP has the task of winning Bengal at any cost the farmer’s stir may harm its political interest there. Already it has put Bhagwan Ram against Maan Durga in Bengal with their war cry of Jai Shri Ram which the Bhadra Lok Bengalis will hardly digest but voters from Bihar and eastern UP may turn towards BJP with this political tactics. This section of Bengali society is not farmer but, workers traders and employees they may keep away from farmer’s stir but Bengali farmers specially Jute and paddy farmer’s may attract towards this protest because it is their major cash crop. In Assam it is again the citizenship issue more than the farm’s issue that will decide the political fate of any party. The Assamese have realized that they have erred in raising the issue of NRC as more Assamese Hindus have been sent to detention centres than Muslims. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has announced that the Congress government if came to power will not implement CAA.
But the major political battle is to be fought in UP which is going to polls in early months of 2022. One of our Ex Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh who was better known as Kisan leader has built a strong political combination of farmers that was above caste and religious considerations. Another kisan leader who emerged after Chaudhary Charan Singh was Chaudhary Mahendra Singh Tikait, he too kept this bond together and Baba Gulam Mohammad Jalosa was his right hand man. In western UP, Jats and Mullahs (Muslims) were strong political force. To break this strong political wall Muzaffar Nagar communal riot of 2013 was masterminded, the century old bond of togetherness between these two communities was broken and the BJP harvested a rich political crop in both assembly and parliamentary elections, the BJP swept almost all the seats in western UP so much so that even Chaudhary Charan Singh’s son Ajit Singh and his grandson Jayant Chaudhary too were defeated. But the Kisan stir has removed all the barriers all farmers irrespective of their caste and religion have come under the banner of Bhartiy Kisan Union and Mr. Rakesh Tikait has emerged their unquestioned and unchallenged leader. He has invited Baba Gulam Jalosa the Chaudhary of about 40 villages to the stir and now he is one of the most important famrer’s leader.
The political scenario in western UP has suddenly changed. It has naturally disturbed the BJP leadership. Jat leaders of BJP have started meeting farmer’s leaders one such meeting was held at the residence of Mr. Sanjeev Balian a fire brand Jat leader known for his anti Muslim rheotrics and an accused in Muzaffar Nagar riot cases. BJP knows that at the moment all sections of society in western UP are on one platform but it has many more tricks to apply to win the election the fund collection for Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is more a political movement meant to reach every Hindu house hold to collect not only a currency note but a vote for BJP also. They are also tutored that the next BJP government in Lucknow is necessary so that there is not any hurdle in the construction of Ram Temple. Secondly BJP will also try to break this unity and it has many things to offer to farmer leaders. Mr. Ajit Singh is known as the most unpredictable leader though at the moment he and his son both are opposing the farm laws and BJP but this opposition will continue till assembly election is doubtful any green pasture from BJP and he may change his mind and heart. Doubts are also expressed that Muzaffarnagar may be repeated to break the Jat Muslim unity.
Will agrarian distress change the politics of western UP like that of Punjab is a big question. Will the BJP with its well oiled election machinery together with media allow the forthcoming elections to be fought on economic issues mainly agrarian crisis or again Mandir ,Masjid,Shamshan Qabristan Pakistan Khalistan type worthless but emotional issues decide the political fate of the state remains to be seen.