Failed Farmers Leverage Agnipath Protests to Gain Cheap Publicity
As the SKM has lost its relevance, its deceptive move to use the Agnipath agitation for its own revival is not going to work.
By Rakesh Raman
After losing their own battle to get farmers’ issues addressed by the government, a few farmers have decided to support the ongoing protests against the Indian government’s ill-conceived Agnipath recruitment scheme.
The united body of farmers – Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) – claims that the farmers held a nationwide demonstration today (June 24) as the government of prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi has refused to withdraw the Agnipath scheme which has caused violent protests by job seekers across the country.
Instead of reviving their own agitation to get farmers’ demands accepted by the government, the dishonest farm leaders in SKM are trying to leverage the aggressive Agnipath protests to make their presence felt. These SKM leaders are behaving like parasites.
Although PM Modi had mechanically withdrawn the contentious farm laws last year to avoid resistance from farmers in the Assembly elections, the Modi government did not accept any other demand of farmers.
A few cunning SKM leaders celebrated the repeal of farm laws and convinced the other gullible farmers that it is a victory for them. But actually the SKM leaders had lost the struggle because the farm laws existed only on paper and not yet implemented.
As the Modi government (which is actually Modi alone) flatly refused to accept any of the SKM demands, the SKM losers left the protest sites sheepishly and decided to sit in their homes.
Farmers have been demanding a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for certain crops and withdrawal of police cases against farmers who participated in the year-long protest that began in November 2020.
The protesting farmers also demanded the arrest of Modi’s minister Ajay Mishra who is accused of a conspiracy to murder a few farmers on October 3 last year at Lakhimpur Kheri in the Uttar Pradesh (UP) state.
However, SKM was shocked to know that, let alone arresting the minister, even his accused son was released from jail. The SKM leaders had urged the voters to defeat the candidates of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recently held state Assembly elections – particularly in UP and Uttarakhand.
However, the BJP won comfortably. It showed that farmers have hardly any influence on the voters and their protests were not quite impactful.
Farmers – mainly from Punjab, Haryana, and UP states – had protested for over a year against the three farm laws announced by the Modi government and other anti-farmer policies of the government.
But they had ended their agitation abruptly, as some of the corrupt farm leaders decided to betray the protesting farmers with the aim to contest the Punjab election and there were hardly any crowds at the protest sites.
As the SKM has lost its relevance, its deceptive move to use the Agnipath agitation for its own revival and for gaining cheap publicity is not going to work. However, there is a possibility that these incompetent SKM leaders – who may have secret links with the government – will harm the struggle of job seekers against the government’s cruel Agnipath plan.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.
He has also launched the “Power Play: Lok Sabha Election 2024 in India” editorial section to cover the news, events, and other developments related to the 2024 election.
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