Soon after the Communist march in Maharashtra where thousands of alleged ‘farmers’ marched off to Mumbai to convey their dissatisfaction towards the state government accusing them of neglecting their demands, Jignesh Mevani, infamous for his foul language, tweeted the photo of a woman with the skin of the sole of her feet peeled off to shame the Prime Minister.
Doesn’t it tell everything? Shame on you, prime minister Modi ji pic.twitter.com/MbwwBbzHEt
— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) March 12, 2018
Mevani’s tweet quite beautifully describes the tendency of communists to implore others to suffer for serving their selfish political goals. The fact that the communists had the resources to afford flags and caps for the farmers but not a pair of slippers exhibits their willingness to sacrifice disgruntled and disadvantaged people at the altar of their own political goals.
Another interesting trend that emerged is that some farmers are more equal than others. For instance, hundreds and thousands of farmers in Odisha are currently protesting against the state government for loan waivers and pensions for farmers. Some of them have even gone on a hunger strike and yet, it is hardly receiving the kind of media coverage that the protest in Maharashtra received. The reason appears to be obvious. Firstly, Odisha has a non-BJP government while Maharashtra has a saffron government and will be crucial for BJP’s prospects in the 2019 General Elections and secondly, the red flags are missing.
The protests by farmers from Tamil Nadu was quite interesting as well. In Maharashtra and Odisha, the farmer protests are focused against their state government while for some reason, farmers from Tamil Nadu instead of protesting against their own state government presented themselves at Delhi to protest against the central government. The protests involved quite a bit of theatrics, from biting mice to allegedly eating their own excreta, the preferred weapon of choice appears to be blackmail rather than negotiation. If one were to brush their memory a bit, one would remember that the protests occurred during the same time frame when certain quarters were beginning to fan the Dravidian issue.
A certain pattern emerges from the coverage of the protests and their timing. Protests receive the most coverage when they are directed towards the Bharatiya Janata Party and especially when the protests are organized at a state that is critical for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Furthermore, the protests have a knack of appearing out of thin air when the opposition needs a change in narrative desperately. The latest Communist march comes in Maharashtra right after the red brigade had suffered a terrible defeat at the hands of the BJP in their erstwhile bastion in the North-eastern state of Tripura.
There is little doubt that discontent did exist among the farmers in Maharashtra. However, only communists are capable of encouraging people already suffering the harshest of misery to go through more pain, so much that the skin falls off their bare feet, to further their own political agenda. The protests also reveal the symbiotic relationship between the Congress Party and the Communists. The latter hardly have anything to gain in Maharashtra. However, by fueling anti-government sentiments among the farmers in Maharashtra, they hope to make the work of their comrades in the Congress party much easier.
Going ahead, the tactics of the Opposition seems fairly obvious. Unlike Narendra Modi’s campaign for the 2014 campaign, when he elaborated on his vision for a new India, to remove the incumbent government, the Opposition’s campaign will focus primarily on fueling discontent across several sections of the country and promote a sense of victimhood among the disadvantaged sections of society. The Maharashtra Communist March clearly reveals that 2019 will thus be a battle between a campaign of positivity with the vision of a New India versus a campaign of negativity based on dissatisfaction, self-victimization and disgruntlement. And of course, the Opposition have their friends in the Media who will manufacture public opinion in favour of the Congress with disproportionate coverage of every protest, manufactured or otherwise, against the central government while ignoring all expression of angst against the Opposition with remarkable efficiency.