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Farm Protests Indicate Concern For NDA in States Due For Polls

Growing angst against farm laws in the states pose a threatto electoral prospects of the ruling political body.

The kerfuffle between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and farmers is now turning out to be an electoral challenge for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as the states where acrimony is increasing are due to go to polls over the next two years.

Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Punjab, Kerala,Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu and Assam are among states to conduct Assembly elections over the next 18 months.

We had resisted the three Bills when they were brought up in Parliament and had asked for parliamentary scrutiny repeatedly. Now that the farmers have amped up their protest at the national capital, the government’s allies themselves are also raising concerns. We will pursue the issue whether in elections or otherwise. In Punjab, too, it was former Congress president Rahul Gandhi who first directed the protestof the Bills in October," said a senior Congress lawmaker.

The advancement is critical on the grounds that this is the first run through in the second tenure of the NDA that a policy decision instigated by the Union government could turn into a demonstratable point in anelection. The seven states are of great importance because the BJP is trying to takecentre stage, politically in West Bengal, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu along with its alliances and is eager to hold on to its electoral and political supremacy in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Assam.

“The protests are an endeavour by the opposition to lead astray the farmers and people of the state against the farm laws. We have kept-up that these laws would benefit the farmers in getting stipendiary prices but there is a joint attempt by opposition parties to use made-up information against the Union government. The Union government is trying to clarify to farmers that these laws would not threaten their livelihood," a senior BJP leader said.

The muddle for the BJP is noteworthy because in most of the seven states the party had done rather well in both the Assembly polls and 2019 general elections. The BJP had bagged 96 Lok Sabha seats of the total 213 constituencies in these seven states.

The decision of farm laws and treatment of protesting farmers would also influence the political and electoral chances of BJP in Punjab where the NDA lost its most loyal alliance partner, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) because of rancour against the farm laws.

BJP’s blocs, the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) in Haryana and Hanuman Beniwal’s Rashtriya Loktantrik Party in Rajasthan, have also shown support to the farmers and are now siding with opposition parties against the farm laws.

For the opposition parties, the farmers protests could be a vital rallying point against the policy decisions of the Centre. This came to light when almost all main opposition parties, as well as regional parties, extended support to the Bharat Bandh called by farmers on Tuesday.

This comprises of political parties, which are either ruling in the poll-bound states or have high stakes in the upcoming polls. Those in favour the Bharat bandh include the Congress, which is imperative in Punjab and is the prime challenger in Kerala and Assam, West Bengal’s ruling party the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the parties which are looking to come back into power in Kerala, as well as the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), which are main challengers in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, respectively.

[Also Read: West Bengal Politics]