It was a formidable sight on Friday – about 50,000 farmers from across the country marched from Ramlila Maidan to Parliament Street. They came from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh among others and marched to the seat of power for the second time this year to reiterate their demands.
They asked for a special Parliament Session to discuss their issues and challenges including loan waiver and higher crop prices.
This time opposition leaders – including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, CPM general-secretary Sitaram Yechury – showed solidarity with the farmers, even as they banded together casting the government as the common enemy.
While the protesting farmers may get a boost from the leaders’ visit, they should bear in mind that in the election season all this is being done for political gains.
The farmer distress is real. It’s short-term solution needs hard decisions and long term changes needs systemic overhaul. However, the opposition’s route of piggyback politics by latching on to this vulnerability of the government, is not going to provide relief to the farmers soon.
Every political party recognises the influence of the agrarian community when it comes to votes and winning. However, the day electoral fortunes of political parties are built on the woes of angry farmers, will be a sad day for Indian democracy.
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