Indian farmers’ union to hold protests

Indian farmer protests
Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty

The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) farmers’ union will hold nationwide protests today in response to liberalizing reforms enacted by the Modi government last September.

Today’s protests stem from enacted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi which loosened rules around the sale, pricing and storage of farming commodities. Led by a fear that these reforms will favor large-scale industrialized farmers and weaken independent farming operations, farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have organized over the past months which have disrupted daily life in major cities. While the BKS union wishes to completely repeal the reforms, Prime Minister Modi has not given into their demands, leading to a stalemate in ongoing negotiations.

Expect today’s protests to yield little productive outcomes owing to Modi’s rejection of a complete repeal. Despite this, Modi’s party is experiencing increased electoral competition exacerbating protest pressure from farmers, due to a fledging “No Vote to BJP” campaign. This has led to several electoral defeats for Prime Minister Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, particularly in the key state of West Bengal. As such, expect the BKS to intensify protest action in a bid to force concessions from Modi’s weakened position in the coming months.

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