With the passage of the farm bills, India has ushered in the era of an agricultural transformation. The three ordinances promulgated by the Modi government will have a far-reaching effect in structurally transforming Indian agriculture.
However, along expected lines, the bills passed for the welfare of the farmers in the country have faced stiff resistance from a multitude of opposition parties, who seemed unnerved by the central government’s commitment and dedication in alleviating the problems bedevilling the farming community.
As a consequence, several of these political parties launched protests in various parts of the country against the central government’s decision to pass the agriculture Bills. The opposition political parties are flustered so much so that their workers are now doubling as “farmers” in the protests to allege that farmers are not happy with the agricultural reforms promulgated by the government.
Workers of opposition political parties organise ‘farmer protests’ against the recently passed Farm Bills
Comrades of Leftist political organisation Revolutionary Marxist Party of India today blocked the Amritsar-Delhi National Highway near Phillaur in Jalandhar, to protest against the Farm Bills passed in the Parliament.
Punjab: Farmers, under the aegis of Bharatiya Kisan Union and Revolutionary Marxist Party of India (RMPI), block Amritsar-Delhi National Highway near Phillaur in Jalandhar, in protest against #FarmBills passed in the Parliament. pic.twitter.com/6zsXZ5VhnW— ANI (@ANI) September 25, 2020
Similarly, members of the National Student Union of India (NSUI), the student wing of the Congress party, took out a march in Amritsar in opposition to the recently promulgated Farm Bills. The fact that ‘students’ bearing allegiance to the Congress party joined the protests indicates that the protests were organised by political parties and not by the ‘aggrieved farmers’ as claimed by the opposition parties.
Punjab: Workers of National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) take out a march in Amritsar to protest against the recently passed agriculture bills. pic.twitter.com/yqAbnPPcMB— ANI (@ANI) September 25, 2020
In West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress functionaries were seen carrying out a demonstration in Kolkata against the recently passed agricultural laws. It is also pertinent to note that TMC had been one of the vigorous opponents of the farm bills and TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien was suspended for creating a ruckus in the parliament over the bills.
#WestBengal: Farmer’s wing of TMC staged a protest in Kolkata earlier today against recently passed agricultural laws— ANI (@ANI) September 25, 2020
“It’s a draconian law passed forcefully by Modi Govt without any regard to procedures. The Modi govt is not for the general people,” says a TMC leader pic.twitter.com/P1hIsCKbFg
Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD organised a protest in different cities of Bihar to oppose the new agriculture reform bills. The protests were attended by several RJD workers, who demanded the government to repeal the said ordinances.
#Bihar: Opposition parties stage protest against the new agriculture reform bills in Gaya, today— ANI (@ANI) September 25, 2020
“We’re protesting anti-farmer laws which must be repealed by the Central Govt. It’ll only benefit corporations & will lead to the closure of all mandis,” says an RJD district worker pic.twitter.com/X1ZGbGZnKC
In Karnataka, police detained workers of Congress, JD(S) and SDPI for participating in demonstrations opposing the Farm Bills. A state-wide protest had been called by the opposition political parties such as Congress, JD(S) and SDPI, in opposition to land reform ordinances, amendments to APMC & labour laws. In these demonstrations, workers of these political parties accused the government of relinquishing the interests of farmers.
Karnataka: Police detain workers of Congress, JD(S) & SDPI, who were protesting in Madikeri of Kodagu district today, amid statewide protest.— ANI (@ANI) September 28, 2020
Farmers’ orgs have called statewide bandh today against #FarmBills (now laws), land reform ordinances, amendments to APMC & labour laws. pic.twitter.com/7lYOeanmx5
Karnataka: Workers of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and Dalith Sangarsh Samiti blocked Shivamogga-Davanagere highway to protest against the recently passed bills related to the agriculture sector, in Shivamogga earlier today. pic.twitter.com/Ff7SU8dKpH— ANI (@ANI) September 25, 2020
It is notable to mention that SDPI is the political wing of the Muslim extremist organisation Popular Front of India (PFI), which has long been accused of spreading Islamist terror across the country. SDPI and PFI are also accused of conspiring to perpetrate violence and unleash riots during the anti-CAA protests that gripped several parts of the country.
For a long-time now, the opposition parties are trying to mount a credible offence against the Modi government, whose approval ratings is at an all-time high. To their chagrin, the Modi government has so far prevailed over the issues highlighted by them, most notably in the matter related to the postponement of the JEE-NEET examinations. This has only infuriated the opposition political parties further and forced their workers to pose as ‘farmers’ and convey their protests against the reform bills.
The inclusion of political workers and members of problematic organisations such as SDPI, which is involved in Islamic terrorism and other such criminal activities, in a protest ostensibly carried out to safeguard the interests of farmers, effectively proves that the protests which are called ‘spontaneous’ are in reality organised and pre-planned. It also underscores the desperation among the political parties, who perhaps believe that the new Farm Bills would further cement PM Modi’s image as ‘farmer-friendly’ and significantly reduce their influence among the farmers.