ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Bharatiya Janata Party’s Achilles’ Heel

The ruling party’s neglect of the “rural” is proving to be fiscally and politically expensive.

With farmers in Rajasthan successfully securing a farm loan waiver to the tune of ₹20,000 crore from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, the fourth state government in the past four months to do this, similar agitations threaten to flare up in other parts of India. Does this suggest the beginning of a reversal of the BJP’s big-ticket reforms as fiscal and political liabilities rise in these states?

Farmers in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, primarily the districts of Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Churu, congregated on 1 September 2017 in Sikar for an indefinite, sit-in strike. This came on the back of several failed attempts, beginning June 2017, to flag the issue of abysmally low procurement prices following demonetisation, among several other problems plaguing agriculture in the region. Characteristically, the district administrations and state government refused to engage with the agitating farmers, seeking instead to disrupt the protests and farmers’ unity. This move backfired as the agitation, under the leadership of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) of theCommunist Party of India (Marxist)—CPI(M)—grew from strength to strength. The support base and participation of the agitation extended to include common citizens, business persons and traders in the district towns, various local service providers’ unions and the overwhelming assertion of women in enforcing curfews and shutdown in towns and villages.Unlike previous farmers’ agitations witnessed this year, the protest in Rajasthan mobilised all sections of rural society. This is a significant departure in the chain of rural unrestunderway in the country.

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Updated On : 27th Sep, 2017
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