Politics over the three agriculture bills has touched the streets. It is no more a quiet protest at the Singhu or the Tikri border. The way protestors have been hounding BJP leaders in Punjab and Haryana is a clear indication of political and subversive elements have started forcing their covert narrative on the society.
The farmers’ agitation, which has been going on now for more than eight months, has in fact come across as an alarming example of how to hold a state to ransom.
Where the state government allows the protestors a long rope to let them disrupt the system-violently, if need be, and conveying a message of helplessness, and covertly condescending in the same breath.
Over 75 toll plazas are blocked causing a loss of lakhs of rupees daily, about 175 corporate offices , which have been injudiciously projected as anti-farmer, are held under siege, while unemployment stares starkly in the face of thousands of the Punjab youths, mostly coming from farmers families in the event of continuous forced a shut down of outlets.
Not too long ago almost 1500 mobile towers, that enable farmers and their family members, communicate across the globe, were damaged. Miscreants had a gala time because the police cases never named the miscreants let alone trying to lay hands on them.
In the names of Ambani and Adani, who have nothing to do with the bills, hundreds of shopping centres in Punjab have been forcefully closed by farmers which has started having a bearing on the employment of over 40,000 youths. This, in spite of the fact that the Ambani group has given an undertaking in the High Court that they had no plans, whatsoever, to enter agro-marketing in Punjab.
The life of state BJP leaders, who again have nothing to do with the passage of three agriculture bills in the Parliament, has been on the edge. Their clothes are torn in public, their vehicles are recklessly damaged, their movement within the state is often disrupted violently.
The Punjab chief secretary Ms Vini Mahajan recently announced that Rs 6900-cr agro-industry is expected in the state soon. With the kind of agitation, farmers have been building in the state, it’s anybody’s guess if such a proposal could ever be materialised.
Frequent disruption in Punjab law and order has been a bane for quite some time. That’s why the industry has been flying out of the state in a big while the new investors have turned a blind eye to the state.
And now the covert agenda of drawing political mileage out of the protest has also started coming to the fore with posters of Balbir Singh Rajewal, Samyukt Kisan Morcha leader, naming him as the chief minister candidate, appearing in parts of Punjab.
Quick on the heels has been another farm leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni, who along with five other farmer organisations, announced to contest the forthcoming Assembly elections in Punjab.
As Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also joined the chorus of protestors while making a request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the three bills it was clear that it was no more interest of the state, but it is politics to the core.
( The writer is a Chandigarh-based senior journalist)