BJP faces rout in UP, Punjab as farmers launch ‘Modi Gaddi Chhodo’ campaign on Quit India Movement Day
Uttar Pradesh has 80 Lok Sabha constituencies out of which 62 were won by BJP in 2019. Losing power there will most certainly impact its prospects adversely in the general elections due in 2024
Farmers have begun their ‘Modi Gaddi Chhodo’ (Modi Quit the Seat of Power) campaign from today, the 9th of August, 2021. This is most likely to impact national politics, beginning with Punjab and Uttar Pradesh where elections to the state legislative assemblies are due early next year by March and May 2022 respectively.
August 9 is observed in the country as Quit India Movement Day, as on this day in 1942, Quit India Movement had begun against the British Rule that ultimately led to India gaining independence. Keeping this in mind, farmers agitating against Modi govt’s three controversial farm laws had decided last month to launch a nationwide ‘Modi Gaddi Chhodo’ movement from this date.
The farmers’ agitation is running into the 9th month. It began on November 26 last year. Eleven round of talks between the Modi government and the farmers under the leadership of Samyukta Kisan
Morcha (SKM) of over 40 farmers’ unions failed to yield any compromise, since both parties stuck to their stance – the Centre insisting on implementing the controversial laws and the farmers on their demand to repeal them. Since the eleventh round of talks failed on January 22, there have been no initiatives from the Centre for talks, while farmers are not ready to call off their agitation until the three laws are repealed.
Farmers have been systematically escalating their agitation in a phased manner in various ways while keeping themselves united and joining central trade unions and other unions of the working class, such as bank or insurance employees’ unions. While continuing their sit-in protest at three Delhi borders – Singhu, Tikri, and Ghaziabad, they have staged protests in all states, district, and block headquarters of the country. They organized demonstrations even in numerous villages, apart from giving call for Bharat Band.
Currently, a ‘farmers’ Parliament’ is in session at Jantar Mantar, only few hundred metres from the Parliament of India which is also in session, and both are to end on August 13.
Only a few days before the beginning of the Monsoon Session of the Parliament last month, farmers under the banner of All India Kisan Sabha had assembled at Lucknow and decided to launch ‘Modi Gaddi Chhodo’ movement from August 9. More than 30 farmer’s organizations, enjoying support of 10 other organizations had participated there.
State level coordination committees were soon formed to coordinate farmers’ agitation and rallies across the states in the country, and several others are to come up at districts and blocks level in the next few months. The idea was to take the farmers’ agitation to the tehsil and village level.
Farmers’ agitation has already impacted national politics, and it seems that we have reached a point from where no political party can afford to ignore the farmers’ agitation and their issues. We have seen how political parties in opposition have raised farmers’ issues in the current Monsoon Session of the Parliament leading to several disruptions in both the Houses – the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. With the launch of ‘Modi Gaddi Chhodo’ movement from today, it is most likely to impact the politics at the ground level as well.
Though the farmers’ agitation is still apolitical, the farmers’ unions have not only been asking for political support for their demands from all opposition political parties, but their leaders had also given call to farmers for not voting for the BJP in the recent Vidhan Sabha elections held in five states including West Bengal where the BJP was hoping to oust Mamata’s TMC from power but failed miserably.
Since a large number of agitating farmers are from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, ‘Modi Gaddi Chhodo’ movement is likely to impact the politics of these states the most. Hundreds of farmers have died during their agitation in over last eight months, which the farmer community cannot be made to forget easily.
We have already seen how the anger of farmers impacted local body elections in Punjab. Angry farmers had announced that they would welcome BJP candidates with wreath of shoes if they come in their area to campaign, following which BJP candidates could not do so.
In Uttar Pradesh, a large number of farmers hailing from the western part of the state have been participating in the sit-in protest at Ghazipur border of Delhi. This section of the populace will vote against the BJP even as the ‘Modi Gaddi Chhodo’ movement becomes stronger in the coming months.
Moreover, farmers in other regions of the state are also disillusioned with Adityanath Yogi’s rule and are increasingly becoming restive for several reasons including the deteriorating law and order situation, the mishandling of COVID-19 crisis and their precarious financial position due to the Modi govt’s failure to manage the economy well.
Incidentally, Uttar Pradesh Congress has also launched ‘BJP Gaddi Chhodo’ movement today in the state.
Uttar Pradesh sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha out of which 62 were won by the BJP in 2019 general election, and a rout there will most certainly impact its prospects adversely in the Lok Sabha elections due in 2024.
Views are personal