Kisan Mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar may prove to be a turning point in the political landscape of the country

There are 77 Vidhan Sabha seats in Western UP, which also sends 22 MPs to Lok Sabha. The region, dominated by farmers, thus holds the key to power not only in Lucknow, but also Delhi to some extent

The Mahapanchayat at Muzaffarnagar
The Mahapanchayat at Muzaffarnagar

Dr Gyan Pathak

Farmers have slowly been emerging as a formidable force. The gathering of over a lakh of farmers at Muzaffarnagar Mahapanchayat held on September 5 has not only given a clear indication of their gaining strength during the last nine months of their agitation against Modi govt’s three farm laws, but has also set in motion an apparent political twist in Uttar Pradesh, which is going to polls within a few months in early 2022, and hence the ‘Mission 2022’.

Farmers’ Mission 2022 is aimed at dethroning the ruling BJP, whose Mission 2022 not only aims to retain power in UP but also to reinforce its prospects in 2024 Lok Sabha Election to establish absolute social, political, and economic control over citizens.

The political friction between the two opposing forces has generated considerable political heat which is being felt more in Western Uttar Pradesh because the region by now has become a political cauldron, with every probability of affecting the situation in bordering Uttarakhand, and as far as Punjab, which are also going to have Vidhan Sabha elections in early 2022.

The Muzaffarnagar Mahapanchayat was held just one day after the ABP-CVoter-IANS opinion poll predicted that the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh is most likely to return to power after the legislative assembly election. But general dissatisfaction among all classes of people in the state against Yogi’s misrule was reflected even in the opinion poll result in terms of reduced number of seats for the BJP and its allies from 325 in 2017 to 263 in 2022 assembly election.

Farmers’ anger against the BJP and their gaining strength day by day has actually shattered the morale of BJP’s alliance partners and several other BJP politicians. Apna Dal leaders in Uttar Pradesh have been openly supporting the farmers’ agitation and now BJP MP Varun Gandhi has talked in their favour, calling them as our ‘flesh and blood’. Several other BJP leaders are also talking in support of farmers. It clearly indicates that the political impact of farmers agitation is being felt not only in Western part of the state but also after crossing the expanse of central part it has reached as far as the eastern part of the state where Apna Dal has considerable support base. Apna Dal had won 9 seats in 2017 election.

The predicted political prospects of the BJP in the state, as per which NDA could get as many as 263 seats in 2022, is dependent on increase in BJP’s vote share by 0.4 per cent, i.e. an increase for about 41 per cent to 41.4 per cent, as assessed by the survey. Here lies the discomfort for the BJP. If even with 0.4 per cent increase in votes in favour of NDA can result in loss of 62 seats, how much they will lose in case of no increase in vote share, and how worse their position would be if their share of votes is reduced even marginally on account of farmers’ anger?

There are 77 Vidhan Sabha seats in Western Uttar Pradesh alone. The region has 22 Lok Sabha seats. This region is dominated by farmers’ politics, and hence it holds the key to power not only in Lucknow, but also New Delhi. The Muzaffarnagar Mahapanchayat of farmers has therefore acquired special political importance.

It should also be kept in mind that BJP’s influence in the state has been witnessing a sharp fall. After its spectacular victory in 2017 Vidhan Sabha election, its tally in the Lok Sabha has reduced from 73 in 2014 to 62 in 2019 election.

While the district administration estimated a gathering of over one lakh farmers at the event, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) claimed a gathering of about 10 lakh for the historic meeting, who would return only to campaign against the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, which they have called “Mission UP and Uttarakhand”. Farmers from Punjab have added “Mission Punjab”.

One of the special features of the gathering was its non-communal nature as against the BJP’s communal politics of polarization. Farmers have even pushed caste politics in the state behind. They were seen united irrespective of their religions and castes. It makes the Muzaffarnagar Mahapanchayat a historic moment that may prove a turning point in the political landscape of the country.

(IPA Service)

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