Bharat Bandh fails to send daily life off track in the Hindi heartland

Lucknow / New Delhi:  India sees a million mutinies over the Agriculture laws that has now snowballed into a major rallying point and 475 unions of farmers from all the states and union territories supported the call for the Bharat Bandh.

The one day nationwide Bharat Bandh however failed to do much in the Purvanchal and West Uttar Pradesh region. The state capital too saw quick action and tight policing, setting the tone for a solid quelling of any kid of farmer ire that disrupts normal life.

A day ahead of the agitation, the top brass in the police establishment in the state capital issued an alert in all districts about the demonstration and deployed a large number of forces. The pro-farmer groups and opposition parties jointly announced Bharat Bandh on 8 December, but the Bharat Bandh in UP could not fully show its impact.

West U.P. breathed easy

Known as the Wild Wild West of Uttar Pradesh, Muzaffarnagar has also been known as an epicentre of the Indian Farmers Union in western UP. Many farmers arrived sold goods as usual. A farmer told the media that most of the farmers did not bring their goods due to the fact that vehicles could be stopped and they might face a loss. A similar view was seen in other cities of UP as well. In most places, some people blocked the road, the train stopped but mostly markets continued their activity.

As top farmer leaders continue to hold fort on the streets, it was anticipated that Known for the sugarcane growing region, the Western Uttar Pradesh would see big impact but that did not happen. This is explained by those in the know as a consequence of young farm leaders in districts of Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Meerut and Saharanpur in western UP being put under house arrest.

Unity missing in Farmers

As vigil across the state remained tight, experts also believe that farmers could not fully show a united force. Old watchers of politics and farm ecoomy say that unlike times when a Mahendra Singh Tikait would galavanize groups, today the scene has changed. Journalists like Senior journalist Pradeep Kapoor have been quoted in the media saying that farmers are today having a greater commitment towards their political masters unlike old times and they no longer have effective leadership.

Experienced journalists who report on Agriculture are also of the view that UP farmers are exploited in the market. It is neither hidden from the government nor from the peasant leaders. In such a situation, when the grain of the farmer is not sold in the market, then the money he gets outside the market he sells it.

Stitch in time

Fearing trouble the cops did not lower their vigil in the capital and adding to that a BJP ruled state, all crisis managers were put on the job to ensure no strategy backfires. It was the quick thinking of the state government that any slight hint of a trouble mongering individual creating problems was put under house arrest. Supporters of the ruling party reached the market and were seen in large numbers in the markets. This is the reason that the impact in UP was less.

Lastly in big action in the runup to the agitation in Lucknow SP President Akhilesh Yadav staged a sit-in in support of the farmers. At the same time, most of the SP, Congress leaders were either placed under house arrest or taken into custody.

Quiet street mutinies

Farmers hit the streets across India over scrapping of three farm laws they say will hurt their livelihood and benefit only corporations. It is widely being said that the laws are pro-corporate and will gradually lead to the government withdrawing the current guaranteed price mechanism to buy agricultural produce from farmers. As the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had said that it will boost private investment in the moribund agriculture sector and boost farm income.

In first signs of yet another revolution from farmers, the first protests happened in the northern states of Haryana and Punjab blocking three key highways linking Delhi to neighbouring states.

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