Indian farmer’s union central committee to discuss protests

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM)—the central committee of the Indian farmer’s union—will discuss ongoing agricultural protests today. The movement has

AFP INDRANIL MUKHERJEE

Photo: AFP/Indranil Mukherjee

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM)—the central committee of the Indian farmer’s union—will discuss ongoing agricultural protests today.

The movement has remained strong in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent days, the protests received a boost following the defeats of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the regional elections. Losses were particularly stark in West Bengal, where left-wing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee won an overwhelming majority. Many farmers went there to campaign as part of the citizen movement “No Vote to BJP”. In sum, out of parliamentary elections in five states, the BJP managed to retain only one state, Assam. The legislative elections have underscored the federal character of Indian politics and the BJP’s efforts to maintain its primacy.

Expect the SKM to continue their successful protests, further wedging itself within the widening gap between the BJP’s agenda and the political will of the Indian people. Although the nationalist government of Narendra Modi shows that it has no intention of giving in, farmers and their families make up just over half of the 1.3 billion Indians. In the world’s biggest democracy, the BJP now risks paying the costs of this showdown in the elections to come.

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