Farmer Distress in Rajasthan
Farmers protested in Jaipur, Rajasthan for fair prices and loan waiver last week and the state government arrested over hundreds of farmers and took them in pre-emptive measures to stop their entry in the capital. On the other hand, the BJP President Ashok Parnami had said in a press conference that the government has fulfilled all the promises it made in its 2013 assembly election manifesto.
Unhappy and unsatisfied with the unfulfilled promises made by the Vasundhara Raje led BJP government, the CPI(M)-affiliated AIKS had given a call to farmers, peasants, agricultural laborers, and cattle rearers to march to Jaipur and lay siege to the Assembly during the budget session.
In fact, in September last year, it took thirteen days of unrelenting, but non-violent protests, road blockades and show of resilience for Vasundhara Raje's Rajasthan government to agree to some of the key demands of the farmers in the desert state and farmers had been reeling under massive farm loans. As per an estimate, farm loan on farmers in the state is upwards of Rs 49,500 crores. The farm loan waiver, agreed upon by Rajasthan government, if implemented, can reduce the debt by Rs 20,000 crores.
After a series of meetings, the state government had agreed to form a high-level committee to look into farmers' demands. It also decided that farm loans will be waived off up to Rs 50,000 rupees per farmer and the Swaminathan Commission report to be referred to the Centre. But no favorable decisions have been made so far for those farmers who are really in distress.
How voices of these poor farmers are silenced and suppressed in the state by the government itself is a great matter of concern. Yet another undemocratic way of dealing with the poor, the Rajasthan government has failed to showcase its courtesy for the poor, who constitute a huge vote bank. On the contrary, when the goons of Karni Sena were protesting over 'Padmavat', no government came with the law book and put them behind the bars. But did when farmers protested for their rights. Doesn't it show how the politics in the state work?
The way those goons of Karni Sena and the poor farmers were treated reveal the agenda behind the government in handling issues. Even though the Raje-led BJP government tries to portray themselves as a pro-poor government, the disparity between ground reality and promises was the only reason why the farmers' protests have been taken onto the streets.