BJP’s worries rising due to prolonged farmer protest

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By Vivek Tripathi
Lucknow, Feb 6 (IANS)
The worries of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh have started to increase due to the farmers’ agitation getting longer. Panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh will be held in April after a High Court order. This has raised the anxiety levels of BJP leaders. Now some BJP leaders have started saying that a solution needs to be found to end this agitation.
The impact of this agitation has been felt more in western Uttar Pradesh. The effort to create an atmosphere against the BJP is strong even in the mahapanchayats taking place these days. The leadership of the mahapanchayat is being handled by Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) national vice president Jayant Chaudhary himself.
At present, there appears to be no solution in sight to the farmers’ agitation. In such a scenario, the worries of the BJP leaders fighting the panchayat elections have increased. They are thinking that the agitation against the farm laws may have a detrimental effect villages.
On the other hand, speaking in favour of RLD Chief Chaudhary Ajit Singh at the Muzaffarnagar mahapanchayat, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) President Naresh Tikait said it was our mistake to defeat Ajit Singh in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “We are guilty of this. This family [Ajit Singh’s] has always fought for the rights of farmers. We should not repeat such a mistake from now on.”
After this statement, the BJP feels that Jat votes in the western part of the state may slip from their hold. Its effect is likely to be felt in the upcoming 2022 state Assembly elections, to be held along with the panchayat elections.
Requesting anonymity a BJP leader said that apart from the growing solidarity of the Khap panchayats, a more active presence by RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary would have an impact in the upcoming state panchayat elections. The government must find a solution to this protest and end it. Otherwise, its effect would be seen in the upcoming state Assembly elections, in addition to the state panchayat polls.
In western UP, the Jat community decides victory or defeat on about 20 Assembly seats. About 17 Lok Sabha constituencies of these are in west UP, so keeping this vote bank intact is a big responsibility.
The BJP does not want to let the Jat votes slip from its hold at any cost. It has deployed its leaders to deal with this challenge. Senior BJP leaders of western Uttar Pradesh have been asked to clear misconceptions about the Union farm laws. State government ministers would also try to convince farmers through a dialogue.
Senior political analyst Ratan Mani Lal says the farmers’ protest would have an impact on panchayat elections. “This protest is also being widely discussed in western UP. It will be discussed in elections as well. Let us see to what extent does the BJP prevent this discussion from going against it.”
Before 26 January, a group of BJP leaders were describing the pros and cons of the law among the farmers. The BJP is alert about the impact of these laws. It knows that the farmers’ protest can have an impact not only on the panchayat elections, but also in the state Assembly elections. BJP has prepared its own team to deal with the protest.
BKU state vice president Harnam Singh Verma says,”The BKU is an apolitical organisation. We are not concerned with the poll results regardless of who wins or losses the panchayat elections. The way the farmers helped form a government with absolute majority in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, in the same way, they would take a decision based on their gains and losses.”
BJP spokesperson Harish Chandra Srivastava says, “Some political parties are trying to mislead the farmers’ protest. The Central government is positive towards the farmers. The doors for dialogue are open. The effect of protests is not going to have an bearing in any election. BJP workers are working with full commitment. ”

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