Why Voting Patterns of Farmers in Andhra Pradesh Go Beyond Agricultural Issues
A recent pre-poll survey, conducted days before the first round of voting for the Lok Sabha election, reported farming distress to be a “very real” issue among 10,010 respondents from across 19 states of India.
But the survey also reported that “farming distress might not be much of an electoral issue” to dent the popularity of the incumbent Central government.
Only 6% respondents found “farming related issues” to be the “most important issues” while voting. These farmer respondents are likelier to be from Maharashtra and Haryana than from the remaining 17 states included in the survey.
The findings focus on the Lok Sabha elections, but since they appear within a year or two of farmers’ protests in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh (MP), Nasik, Maharashtra and Delhi, they raise questions about the concept of viewing farmers as ‘political groups’.
How can we understand the current electoral politics of India’s farmers? My research on farmer politics in Andhra Pradesh (AP), and the concluded assembly elections in that state, offers some clues to how it plays out in the southern state at least.