03 August, 2021

Farming An Agitation

As farmers dig in against three new farm laws, opposition parties see a chink in the BJP’s armour. Can they pierce it?

In Solidarity
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra with family members of a protester who died during the Republic Day rally in Delhi.
Photograph by PTI
Farming An Agitation

Ever since Narendra Modi catapulted to power in 2014, opposition parties—particularly the Congress—have struggled to find an emotive issue that can outwit the Prime Minister and his party electorally. Be it demonetisation, economic stagnation and rising joblessness or recurring instances of social and communal unrest, nothing seemed to dent Modi’s popularity among the voters. But, as the ongoing farmers’ strike against the Centre’s three contentious farm laws enters its third month with no sign of an early resolution, opposition parties believe scratches have finally begun to appear on Modi’s Teflon.

Respecting sentiments of farmer uni­ons that wanted their protests to stay apolitical, opposition leaders had, in the early days of the agitation, expressed solidarity with the cause, but stayed away from key protest sites on Delhi’s borders. The expression of support was limited to press conferences, delegations to President Ram Nath Kovind and petitions before the Supreme Court dem­anding repeal of the laws and the assurance...

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