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Demanding More

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The concession on the farm laws is not being received in the spirit it was given. Not just the farmers’ organisations but other groups, also, are baying for more than their pound of flesh. The ‘farmers’ believe they have the government on the run and it is time to exploit the situation to the fullest by raising even more demands, contrary to what had been said earlier. It is becoming quite clear that the agitation has been as much political as it was supposedly in the annadatas’ interests. Realising that the withdrawal of the laws has been done very probably for electoral reasons, they want to continue with the pressure so as to vengefully damage the BJP as much as they can.

Efforts are underway now to raise the temperature again on the CAA and NRC issues. It is usual for agitations to be launched before elections at many levels, particularly by government employees, to have pending demands accepted, but the present strategy seems to be along a coordinated national trajectory. There is an effort at polarisation in the hope of benefiting during the elections.

This would, of course, imply that a single political party or front would gain in each of the state elections. The proposed tie-up of the RLD and SP in UP, for instance, is an attempt to harvest such votes. At the same time, however, it would mean near annihilation of other opposition outfits like the Congress and the BSP. Anticipation of this by the voters would be of advantage to the BJP. It could also lead to a rural and urban divide cutting across other lines.

Additionally, if PM Modi’s actions come to be viewed as ‘soft’ and unnecessarily ‘conciliatory’, it could raise Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s stock as a more hard line leader. The ungracious attitude of the farm agitators in the face of victory will also rankle with the common folk, as it would discourage the government from adopting a conciliatory attitude in future negotiations on other issues. Most economists are convinced that reforms have received an across the board setback because of the recent developments and predict politics will now take a negative turn, which is by no means a good augury. Will the voters have the wisdom to make the right choice under the circumstances?