The stakes continue to rise as the farmers’ agitation has entered the next stage after the farmers rejected the government proposals and announced a slew of measures to escalate the agitation including blockade of Delhi, and nationwide protests outside the offices of BJP leaders.
In the game of political chess, the farmers continue to hold the advantages and remain steadfast in their demand to repeal the three laws while the ground becomes shaky under the government’s feet. This is due to a number of reasons:
1. The determination and steadfastness of farmers’ agitation, and their fight for dignity, survival, self respect and identity has garnered unprecedented response nationally and internationally.
2. The peaceful nature of the agitation has ensured that the narrative continues to remain in the favor of farmers.
3. The protesters are undeterred at the Delhi borders despite the chilly nights. The number of people joining the border camps is rising on an everyday basis.
4. International diplomatic pressure, unmatched support from the diaspora, and unbiased section of the media has put the government on a hook.
5. The protesters have left the BJP troll army far behind in the “battle of narratives”. Bollywood remained mute throughout. State sponsored troll attempt to portray “Ann-daata” as “Khalistani”, ”Tukde-Tukde Gang” etc. has backfired.
6. RSS’s traditional instinct to retreat under pressure seems to be bulldozing the spirits within BJP ranks.
7. Economic agenda remains peripheral to BJP as compared to “Hindutva”. It is noteworthy that they were swadesis once and catered to small traders, and even supported Indira’s license permit raj in the early 70s.
8. There is real discontent in agriculture dominated, core BJP states – Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
9. Security concerns at Indo-Pak and Indo-China borders are rising because 80% of the Indian army has an agrarian background. The participation of army veterans has highlighted the much needed fact.
10. Opposition parties are now aggressively focusing their agendas against BJP and are threatening to join the agitation.
11. The agitation has gained tremendous support from the trade unions and transporters. This makes the base to escalate the agitation further.
12. In case the government resorts to large scale violent measures, the foreign investors will become wary of entering Indian shores thus hurting the corporate agenda for a longer time.
On the other hand, if Modi government is still holding onto the shaky ground, it is because of the following reasons:
1. BJP doesn’t want to risk the “strongman” and “pro-corporate” image of the PM.
2. Corporate pressure remains strong on the government to allow them into the lucrative farming sector.
3. The government hopes that ultimately, divisions, exhaustion or violence would help them to tide over this issue.
4. Pro-corporate media analysts are provoking Modi to do a “Thatcher” on the farmers.
5. A section of BJP thinks that they remain electorally invincible, and expects to recover the lost ground in the long run.
6. The government has started a large scale campaign to convince people that the laws are lucrative to only the farmers; the PM is the star campaigner as usual.
7. The government is trying to detour the issue via the Supreme Court to find a compromise.
The next few days are going to be pivotal in this long and drawn “war of the titans” between the “state” and the “people”.