As the farmers’ protests are not being led by a wise leader, the current positioning of the farm agitation is totally wrong.
By Rakesh Raman
It appears that the leaders of farmer unions are living in a fool’s paradise. They are not able to realize that in their agitation against the new farm laws, the government of PM Narendra Modi has nothing to lose.
This fact was reinforced after Monday’s (January 4) meeting of farmers with the government ministers who brazenly refused to accept farmers’ demands including the revocation of the 3 farm laws introduced by the government.
The leaders of farmers – who have been protesting around Delhi for the past over a month – have already held more than half a dozen meetings with the government politicians who have made it clear repeatedly that the government will not repeal the farm laws.
Strangely, however, after every meeting the farm leaders distort the facts of their interactions with the government to issue loose statements about the success of their meetings. While their stated objective is to get the farm laws repealed, they talk about the government’s favorable behaviour, their lunch with the ministers, and vaguely about the acceptance of 50% of their demands.
Since there is no record of their closed-door meetings with the government representatives, the farm leaders are not putting their conversations in the right perspective when they inform the protesters and the public about their secret talks.
The farm leaders are, in fact, trying to find a safe passage to end their agitation. That’s why they are holding meaningless talks with the government. They are deliberately ignoring the fact that it is a zero-or-one situation.
If the Modi government is formally ready to repeal the laws, it can announce its decision publicly without even meeting the farmers. That is a “one” status. And if the government disagrees, it is “zero.”
Watch Video: Impact of Farmers’ Meetings with Modi Govt
So, the farm leaders are not required to hold meaningless meetings with the government bosses. They should, in fact, cancel the next meeting scheduled to take place on January 8.
If the status is “one” when the government agrees to repeal the laws, the farm leaders can go to meet the ministers to chalk out the roadmap for the withdrawal of the laws. But each and every minute of such meetings between the conflicting sides should be live-streamed and recorded to keep thousands of field protesters and other stakeholders informed.
Until the status becomes “one,” it remains in a state of “zero.” That means the farm leaders should not rejoice after every meeting with the claims that the government is yielding under protest pressure or Modi is spending sleepless nights because of the ongoing protests.
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The farmers are deliberately turning a blind eye to the universally known fact that Modi is not going to succumb because he has nothing to lose in this conflict with the farmers. Actually, such directionless protests will not deter Modi because they do not challenge his position as the PM of India.
Such protests will be meaningful only if they can defeat Modi and his party in elections. But that is not possible because Modi knows how to win elections by hook or by crook. He has proved this fact repeatedly and recently in the Bihar Assembly election where his party retained power despite farmers’ opposition.
As the farmers’ protests are not being led by a wise leader, the current positioning of the farm agitation is totally wrong. The protesting farmers are not able to give a right direction to their struggle in order to directly challenge Modi and his power.
As a result, Modi has nothing to lose in this endless game and farmers will keep wasting time in the games that Modi wants them to play as losers. Hence, Modi wins.
If the protesting farmers really want to have some favorable outcome, they need to expand the scope of their struggle to focus on the Modi government instead of focusing on the Modi government’s farm laws. And that’s the whole point.
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 also runs F A C T (Farm And Crop Times) news magazine on global farming and agricultural affairs.
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