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The Polar of Priority and Ignorance: Punjab and West-Bengal

With the Bengal elections on our very heads, the political interests- along with the media lines- have shifted their focus upon this corresponding spectacle, forgetting the farmer protest frontier in their every nuance.

The beginning of the year 2021 was marked by a series of events concentrating around the Farmers’ Protest held against the three laws passed by the Indian Government. Incidents such as the violent and upscaled Farmers’ Tractor March generated a lot of heat and tensions within the political forefront, naturally attracting various political interest groups and numerous promises. But as campaigning heats the battleground for the high-voltage West Bengal legislative elections, the Protests have taken a back seat, or rather have been pushed, out of the limelight. 

Naturally, with the commencement of the West Bengal elections, the media alongside the political trends, change their emphasis systematically to accommodate the need of the hour. Our daily news analysis or ‘Prime Time’ news programs neither show the protesting peasant issues nor claim them as terrorists harming the sovereignty of the nation, because of the simple fact that there is a new hot topic in the public dogma. The daily news cycle now revolves mainly around the political contentions and scooter publicity stunts in the campaigning arena, leaving the farmers’ issue in the forgotten sands of time.

The political parties represent a similar behavioural pattern; before the commencement of the Bengal campaigning, serious actions for political mobilization could be seen in the protests. Parties from every corner and ideological front were contesting to gain an upper hand from the possible vote bank mass; this not-so-distant past was marked by pompous speeches, grand press conferences, and profound social media live sessions. Ironically, the so-called ‘talks’ promised with the national leader haven’t been fulfilled in the stark reality of the more than a hundred days of the protests. Nationalist Congress Party chief, Sharad Pawar, recently slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for campaigning in poll-bound West Bengal and turning a blind eye to the farmers’ protest. He added, Centre’s responsibility is to establish brotherhood, but BJP spreading communal poison in the country. Farmers have been protesting for 100 days, PM has time to go to Kolkata, rally against West Bengal govt, but no time to visit farmers in Delhi. 

No active response from the government can indeed kill a movement. The Modi government held more than 10 talks with the leaders of the protest and even approved to suspend the laws for 1.5 years. But now the government is creating anxiety and targeting the weak nerve of the movement and its facelessness, fueled up by uncertainty. In simple words, due to the substantiative shift of focus and the lack of government response, the protest is left without any consolidated direction, and is lacking its old vigour and fervour. 

What needs to be noted is that the government is under serious pressure from both distant poles, and is severely worried about the vote bank corrosion. The pompous and charismatic Modi brand has been tainted to a severe extent.

Feature Image Credits: PTI

Nirmanyu Chouhan 

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