Ever since Prime Minister Modi came to power in 2014, the opposition has fuelled a constant cycle of outrage, often culminating in violence. The latest cycle was the farmers’ protest, which erupted after the central government passed three laws that would actually benefit farmers and free them from the deathly grip of middlemen. The involvement of Congress, the Communist organisations and parties, Khalistanis and even oversees elements that sought to interfere in India was as stark as day. However, for the longest time, the trope that the protests were organic and apolitical by the ‘annadaatas’ of the nation was vociferously peddled by the ‘liberals’.
Now, however, about 4 months after the farmers protest erupted and a month after the Republic Day violence, icchadhari protestor Yogendra Yadav, whose tentacles were visible in every single cycle of protest and violence, has come out to admit that the farmers’ protest was indeed political, as it supposedly should be, and has the explicit aim of defeating the Modi government.
Yogendra Yadav wrote an article in The Print headlined, “Farmers’ movement can’t and shouldn’t be apolitical. That’s not a democracy”.
In the article, Yogendra Yadav explicitly makes the claim that the farmers’ protest is not apolitical. He then goes on to claim that it should not be apolitical and that any demand that it should be apolitical is against the basic tenet of democracy.
The article, as is evident, was written with the explicit intention to paint the decision of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) to campaign in poll-bound states as a grand act of political dissent by apolitical farmers. Whatever that means.
Yogendra Yadav starts by talking about the decision by SKM do go to poll-bound states and campaign against BJP. He writes, “We have decided to appeal to the voters in Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to electorally punish the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its anti-farmer laws, for its outrageous attacks on the movement, for its use of state machinery to suppress and criminalise the movement and, above all, for its imperious arrogance. It is for the voters to decide how they wish to mete out this punishment to the BJP. It is not for SKM to suggest who they should vote for”.
Essentially, here Yogendra Yadav tries to say that the farmers are politicised just to the ‘right’ degree and not to a point where the entire ‘movement’ must be discredited. They only want to ‘defeat’ BJP and have no stake in who wins. They are ok even with Abbas Siddiqui winning Bengal, essentially, as long as Modi and BJP are kept out of power. That is the ‘right’ amount of democracy.
While droning on about how politicians are making ‘politics’ a dirty word by demanding that farmers remain ‘apolitical’, he says that farmers themselves are doing a great disservice by calling their organisations “Arajnaitik”. He further admits that most farmer organisations are affiliated to some political party or the other and it is true even for the SKM, which has several organisations within itself that are affiliated with political parties.
Interestingly, what he fails to mention, maybe because he assumes that everyone would know, is that he himself is a member of the coordination committee of SKM – Yogendra Yadav, who runs a political party called Swaraj Abhiyaan. Others include those associated with Congress and even the Communists.
Further, the legal cell that was created by SKM has 4 members – Colin Gonsalves, Dushyant Dave and Prashant Bhushan, H S Phoolka.
Who are these people, one might ask? Prashant Bhushan is a notorious lawyer who was one of the founders of AAP. HS Phoolka is himself an AAP leader who quit recently. Dushyant Dave is a lawyer of many laurels, one of them being fighting against the Hindu rights on Ram Janmabhoomi and Colin Gonsalves is the founder of HRLN, appeared in the Supreme Court demanding a judicial inquiry into the Police action at Jamia. The HRLN receives a significant amount of funding from George Soros’ Open Society Institute as well. The combination of PUCL and HRLN was also involved in the ‘Civil Society’ attack on Akshaya Patra.
From Rakesh Tikait of BKU, who fought elections on an RLD ticket, an ally of Congress, to Darshan Pal who was a founder of Maoist PDFI and the involvement of elements like Yogendra Yadav, those from Congress, AAP etc, the farmers protest have been political.
While Yogendra Yadav says that being ‘political’ is a part of democracy, and one agrees, it is also true that when the very same elements appear in every outrage cycle. And when they lie blatantly to foment trouble, it is their political agenda that is the central reason for protest and not some grand values of dissent or even the issue that they claim is the reason.
During the anti-CAA riots, we saw the very same people get involved claiming that the law was anti-Muslim. It was not. During the farmers protest, the same elements are involved yet again claiming that the farmers laws are against the interests of the farmers – it is not. In both cases, the international community of global Left got involved to fan propaganda against India and specifically, Hindus and the Modi government. In both cases violence erupted in the capital city of Delhi.
While Yogendra Yadav is not wrong in saying that every protest and in fact, every individual has a political preference and that is indeed the very foundation of a democracy, when the same group of vested political interests starts to burn the country because they wish to ensure that a democratically elected government is thrown out of power by violence and propaganda, it is not democracy that the political interests serve. It is political interests of the political parties they serve.
Yogendra Yadav craftily tries to pass off a deeply political agenda as one that is a part and parcel of democracy. Violence is not and groups with vested political interests lying and leading an insurrection to seize power from a democratically elected government, with the help of foreign vested interests is also, certainly not democracy.
With this opinion piece in The Print, Yogendra Yadav has made one thing extremely clear – The farmers protest, that led to an attempted insurrection against a democratically elected government and is now campaigning against one party in state elections is not about the farm laws at all – they are about seizing political power – by hook or by crook.
What are the farm laws that Yogendra Yadav and his political hacks are protesting against?
One of the biggest factors plaguing the growth of agriculture sector in the country is the inability of the farmer to find a market and to get a fair price to his produce. To address the issue, the erstwhile governments of different states enacted the Agricultural Produce Market Regulation Acts (APMC Acts), which authorised them to set up and regulate marketing practices in wholesale markets.
The objective of these markets was to ensure that farmers get a fair price for their produce. However, with each passing year, the APMCs turned out to be inefficient with increasing cartelisation of middlemen, ban on private players to enter the trade, increasing corruption etc.
The Modi government recently introduced three bills to promote much easier trade for the farm produce and to provide a competitive market for the producers outside the existing APMC system. The three laws were:
- The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020: This law aims at creating additional trading opportunities outside the APMC market yards to help farmers get remunerative prices due to additional competition
- The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020: This law relates a framework for contract farming through an agreement between a farmer and a buyer prior to the production or rearing of any farm produce.
- The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020: This law aims to regulate the supply of certain food items only under extraordinary circumstances.
It is pertinent to mention that the farm laws are set of three laws that allow farmers to sell their products outside APMC act (most states make it compulsory for the farmers to sell at APMC mandis). It also allows farmers to directly have a contract with corporate houses.
That farm laws don’t do away with APMC, and if someone is not willing to trust markets outside the current system, they are free to stick to the ongoing system. It doesn’t do away with MSPs either. However, the prevalent narrative that seems to be motivated by political concerns falsely claims that APMCs and MSP are being done away with.
They also allege that due to these laws, big corporations would have the upper hand in a deal with farmers, however, that again is a lie. In fact, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 ensure that a contract is agreed upon and gives the farmer the power to even cancel contracts.