The ‘farmer protests’ appear to be reaching their climax. Recently, some of them were spotted expressing their solidarity with ‘Urban Naxals’ and Islamists arrested under the current ruling dispensation. The protesters could be seen demanding the release of ‘Urban Naxals’ such as Gautam Navlakha, Sudha Bhardwaj, Varvara Rao, Anand Teltumbde, and riot accuses such as Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam and Khalid Saifi. Needless to say, such individuals have absolutely nothing to do with farmers.
The protesters appear unwilling to reach any compromise with the Central Government on the matter. They now threaten to block railway tracks from the 10th of December should their demands not be met. Such developments only make it clear that the government now can no longer afford to accede to their demands. If they do, then the consequences for this country would be disastrous. As an immediate fall out of bending the knee to such ‘farmer protests’, here is what we can expect in the immediate future.
Repeal of CAA and Article 370 after ‘farmer protests’
The most immediate consequence of bending the knee to ‘farmer protests’ would be that it would embolden all sections of the country that have a grouse with the NDA government at the center. Such a development will be evidence for the fact that the government can be made to kneel by holding the country hostage.
Therefore, we will once again witness the revival of the protests to repeal CAA and Article 370. And this time, it will require even greater effort to put down the rebellion as the ‘protesters’ will be far more motivated earlier, convinced that victory is indeed possible and even at the face of great adversity, they will have reason to believe that victory is just around the corner.
International media will claim Modi has suffered stellar defeat against Indian farmers
The international media is no friend to Narendra Modi and the NDA Government at the center. Ever since the NDA was elected to power, they have been looking to augment stories about “people’s uprising against Modi”. They have peddled this narrative several times and every time, they have ended up with eggs on their faces as the BJP secured stellar victories in elections.
With their penchant to embolden unruly elements, the international media will herald it as Modi’s humbling defeat against farmers and encourage other disgruntled factions to rise in protest. They will cite it as further evidence that Indians at large are not happy with the NDA government’s “authoritarian” tendencies and Narendra Modi has had to finally bend the knee.
Thus, if the Modi Sarkar decides to repeal the farm laws under pressure from vested interests, then it will set in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy as the international media declares the ‘beginning of the end’ for the NDA government at the center.
Template for the future
Should the NDA government decide to fold under pressure, then it will become the template for the future. It will also mean that ‘New India’ will not be really different from ‘Old India’ and the vision will be destroyed even before it is realised. Going forward, it will become impossible to impose any kind of reform as disgruntled factions will simply hold the state ransom until they have their way.
The Modi Government will end up providing incentives for citizens to hold the state ransom in order to enforce their will. If it indeed comes to pass, then it will herald the doom of the nation as such antics cannot serve as the template for governance for long. It will also render Parliamentary elections meaningless as groups can simply organise themselves and threaten the state in order to ensure that their will is implemented even if their demand does not have popular support.
The revival of the Khalistan-Islamist-Left Nexus
Nothing defeats like defeat and nothing succeeds like success. If the ‘farmer protests’ succeeds in its objective, then we will only see the nexus between Khalistanis, Islamists and the Left strengthen here on. During the current protests, we have already seen the nexus operate on the ground. We have seen Khalistanis trying to hijack it and we have already seen Islamists entering the fray. Meanwhile, leftists such as Yogendra Yadav have been at the forefront of it from the very beginning.
Therefore, if this succeeds, we are going to the nexus strengthen over time and present a much more united front in the near future. And when they do present a united front, it will be much more difficult for the government to put them down as they will be feeling pretty high basking on their glory of their success.
A lot depends on how the government resolves the ‘farmer protests’
Thus, quite clearly, a lot is at stake here. The manner in which the government resolves these protests will determine the course of the country for years to come. The government can either hold their forte and not allow unruly elements to hold the state ransom, whatever maybe the cost, or it can bend the knee, which will open a pandora’s box for the ruling dispensation.
Whatever choice the government makes will continue to reverberate across Indian politics. If the government climbs down now, it is hard to imagine any government in the near future attempting any serious reform. The BJP was elected with a simple majority on its own in 2014 and with an even greater majority in 2019. If this government fails to implement hard reforms, then there’s very little hope that any government in the near future will be able to.